RUST magazine: RUST#42

IT'S A WHOPPER! 174 pages, so take your time. ON TEST: KTM 790 Adventure R, Triumph Scrambler 1200XE, Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500, Yamaha WR450F plus long term reports on Suzuki V-Strom 650XT, Honda CRF250RX, Husqvarna FE350 and KTM 1290 Adventure R. TRAVEL: California Cruising on Triumph and Indian, across the Americas with PanAmScram. REGULARS: Chris Evans, Craig Keyworth, fitness, products, and much much more!

IT'S A WHOPPER! 174 pages, so take your time. ON TEST: KTM 790 Adventure R, Triumph Scrambler 1200XE, Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500, Yamaha WR450F plus long term reports on Suzuki V-Strom 650XT, Honda CRF250RX, Husqvarna FE350 and KTM 1290 Adventure R. TRAVEL: California Cruising on Triumph and Indian, across the Americas with PanAmScram. REGULARS: Chris Evans, Craig Keyworth, fitness, products, and much much more!


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ISSUE #42<br />

KTM 790<br />

TEST: KTM’s new<br />

Adventure R comes<br />

with added RRRRRRR!<br />


TEST: How Yamaha has<br />

tamed their WR450F for<br />

2019<br />

ADV COOL<br />

TEST: Triumph’s<br />

coolest adventure bike<br />

is a heritage model!

Photo: F. Lackner<br />

ENDURO<br />



KTM 690 ENDURO R<br />

Take charge of your ride with the new KTM 690 ENDURO R – now armed<br />

with highly-capable WP XPLOR suspension, ride-enhancing electronics and<br />

aggressive new enduro styling. True to its core, this renowned icon of original<br />

hard enduro offers a dynamic slim feel, delivering superior all-terrain action<br />

wherever and whenever the urge arises.<br />

For more information and to find your local authorised dealer visit www.ktm.com<br />

2<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />

Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations!<br />

The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.

C ntents<br />

#<br />


134 28<br />

Tested: 2019 KTM 790<br />

Adventure R<br />

Actually this is a wow<br />

moment, this 790 is a<br />

new kind of offering, very<br />

dynamic, but also very<br />

versatile<br />

Tested: Triumph<br />

Scrambler 1200XE<br />

What started out as a<br />

heritage test quickly<br />

became an adventure<br />

ride…<br />

38 62<br />

Tested: Fantic<br />

Caballero Scrambler<br />

500<br />

We loved the 125 and<br />

250, but with a 500 motor<br />

– yeah, way to go!<br />

Tested: Yamaha<br />

WR450F<br />

In an issue full of new<br />

model surprises, here’s<br />

another one. Yamaha<br />

has at last nailed the 450<br />

enduro…<br />

54 140<br />

Trials & Tribulations<br />

Craig Keyworth has a goal<br />

of Dakar 2020. He also<br />

has intermediate goals,<br />

like the 2019 Scottish Six<br />

days Trial. Which is the<br />

greater?<br />

PanAmScram: Ecuador<br />

July Behl continues to<br />

eat (literally) his way<br />

north-south across the<br />

Americas…<br />

152<br />

California<br />

Cruising at its best<br />

www.rustsports.com 3

www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com<br />

Photos: Alessio Barbanti, R. Schedl<br />




With the ability to go the distance on any terrain you choose, the options for<br />

endorphin-inducing experience are endless. A state-of-the-art chassis and distinctive<br />

design ensures that your ride is at home wherever it goes. Set off on limitless exploration<br />

with Husqvarna Motorcycles 701 ENDURO.<br />

For more information and to find your local authorised dealer visit www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com<br />

4<br />

Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the<br />

applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations! The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the<br />

production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.<br />


Editorial<br />

How <strong>RUST</strong> #42 grew<br />

into a monster…<br />

C ntents #<br />


06 08<br />

Gallery<br />

To show there’s no<br />

snobbery in <strong>RUST</strong>,<br />

we contrast an AMA<br />

SX champ with<br />

adventure ride first<br />

timers<br />

12 48<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> TRAVELS<br />

Too many bikes, not<br />

enough time – there are<br />

worse problems to have<br />

Good Evans<br />

Our man Chris Evans<br />

looks set for Dakar<br />

2020, while his Fantic<br />

may never roll a wheel<br />

again (altogether now:<br />

boooooooo!)<br />

110 104<br />

Stuff<br />

Featuring TCX boots<br />

and Acerbis X-Seat…<br />

Fitness for vets<br />

Warren delves into<br />

THE taboo subject of<br />

any paddock…<br />

76 86 100 114 134<br />

Long termers<br />

JB’s V-Strom does the Kielder 500; a KTM<br />

1290 Super Adventure R rolls into the garage<br />

and immediately cracks 1400 miles; the<br />

Honda CRF250RX howls around the Brechfa<br />

Rally; while Warren’s Husky FE350 is still<br />

riding in circles somewhere near Lisbon…<br />

www.rustsports.com 5




Image: Llewellyn Pavey<br />

I<br />

should have known better. In last issue’s<br />

editorial I lamented that I need to ride more.<br />

Now, I could do with riding less! These past<br />

two months have flashed by in a blaze of test<br />

rides. I’m counting seven bikes tested, and<br />

the miles I’ve put in – way over 3000 I should say,<br />

as I’ve been up to the Scottish borders, to Yorkshire<br />

and twice into Wales. Yes, the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT put on over<br />

2000 miles and the new KTM 1290 Super Adventure is sitting on<br />

1400 miles already. That’s before we add the days in the saddles of<br />

the test bikes.<br />

Trying to squeeze all this into this issue, plus other stuff for<br />

balance, has been a major undertaking, maybe too much. Indeed<br />

too much, after this issue you and me are going to have to get<br />

used to editorial content being more evenly spread across the<br />

<strong>magazine</strong> and the website – that old ‘continual publishing’<br />

concept. I’ll be working hard with the <strong>RUST</strong> team to strategize<br />

how content gets placed and we’ll probably need to make more<br />

use of mail alerts, so please forgive us, we’re not spamming you,<br />

just trying to ensure you find all our stories.<br />

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue. Being so big don’t<br />

bust a gut trying to read it all in one go, and don’t leave it to one<br />

side either – just keep coming back to it and reading in bits. It’s<br />

the big-little <strong>magazine</strong> that just keeps giving.<br />

Is there a standout bike this issue? No! The KTM 790 Adventure<br />

R was every bit as dynamic and inspired as we’ve been led to<br />

believe, if you like your adventure fast and furious this is probably<br />

for you (although it does steady-away just as well). Conversely the<br />

Rally Raid BMW G 310 GS (which we’ve had to publish on to our<br />

website as this issue grew and grew) feels like the most complete<br />

travel bike that a small-bore could ever be – it’s a real wonder and<br />

might help you (as much as it did me) to reset just what you think<br />

an adventure bike should be. There again, the Triumph Scrambler<br />

1200 XE did that for me too – yeah, adventure should look cool<br />

as well be cool. And by heck, did I love screaming the wee Honda<br />

CRF250RX around the Brechfa Rally? And then there’s the Fantic<br />

Caballero Scrambler 500, not to mention Yamaha’s WR450F.<br />

All of them – quality, transformative machines.<br />

I guess there’s a time and place for everything, and we<br />

should appreciate all these different tastes. Hopefully<br />

you’re enjoying your particular favourite flavour of dirt<br />

biking right now, we’re in the riding season after all. So<br />

ride safe and I hope you enjoy the read.<br />

6<br />


www.rustsports.com 7


8<br />


Cooper Webb<br />

AMA SX CHAMP 2019<br />

Congratulations to Cooper Webb on winning the Monster Energy 2019<br />

AMA Supercross title. It would be fair to say he wasn’t expected to win,<br />

names like Tomac, Musquin and Roczen were the early season favourites.<br />

But the 23 year old from North Carolina prevailed. A former two-time<br />

250SX West champ (2015-16), Webb’s step-up into the 450 class had not<br />

been starred. In two seasons on a Yamaha YZ450F he’d placed 13th and<br />

then 9th, with one podium finish in each year. So he came into the Red Bull<br />

KTM team for 2019 very much as the understudy to Marvin Musquin. Only<br />

Webb clicked with the KTM 450SX real quick, found his groove and simply<br />

cleaned house. <strong>RUST</strong> was there from the beginning; this is Webb at his first<br />

official KTM test session, and check out our interview with him from the<br />

day https://youtu.be/hkjdooXP_HU<br />

Image: JB<br />

www.rustsports.com 9


A RIDE IN<br />


End of March, <strong>RUST</strong> took a long ride up to the<br />

Scottish borders to ride the Adventure Spec<br />

Challenge Kielder 500. Yep, nearly 500km on tracks<br />

and trails using a paper road book for navigation.<br />

Some 150 mostly newbie adventurers had an<br />

incredible weekend, even if temperatures dropped<br />

to a nippy -2ºC. The local community benefited<br />

too, the local convenience store and petrol station<br />

reported the equivalent of three months trade in<br />

one afternoon. Needless to say the adventurous<br />

motorcyclists are very welcome to return…<br />

Image: JB<br />

10<br />


Adventure<br />

www.rustsports.com 11

LIFE<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> TRAVELS<br />

A log of what we’ve been up this past two months (or so…)<br />

JB’s story<br />

If my log from <strong>RUST</strong> #41<br />

was all about seeing<br />

off the winter, for this<br />

issue it’s been about<br />

one super-hectic Spring<br />

testing season. One after<br />

another, the importers called<br />

offering new test bikes. I<br />

couldn’t turn down not even<br />

one of them, although that’s<br />

meant an ever-growing<br />

snowball of work at this end<br />

of the schedule (and delayed<br />

publishing).<br />

But getting out riding has<br />

been awesome. Within a<br />

week I’d gone from racing<br />

the Honda CRF250RX<br />

through the Welsh forests<br />

to navigating the altogether<br />

larger Suzuki V-Strom<br />

650XT around a Scottish<br />

forest. Two vastly different<br />

experiences, but I loved both.<br />

I like tear-arsing around on<br />

the wee enduro, but I also<br />

like slowing it right down and<br />

appreciating the scenery on<br />

the big adventure.<br />

There again, I have more<br />

conflicting mores when it<br />

comes to having enjoyed<br />

riding two KTM über-<br />

ADVs in their 790 and<br />

1290 Adventure Rs and<br />

then finding equal love<br />

for Triumph’s new 1200<br />

Scrambler XE. For me, all<br />

three make great adventure<br />

bikes and I’d be super happy<br />

touring off-road on all three.<br />

But then Rally Raid Product’s<br />

modified BMW G 310 GS<br />

again proved you don’t need<br />

a big engine for big adventure<br />

– what a cracking tool that is!<br />

Bottom line: it’s all good.<br />

We have an embarrassment of<br />

riches it seems in the dirt bike<br />

and heritage bike market right<br />

now. So choosing your ride is<br />

getting ever harder…<br />

12<br />


Travel<br />

Warren’s story<br />

JB has just asked me to pen 150<br />

words on my last two months<br />

since the previous issue, and<br />

my first thought was – “a<br />

bloody blur!”<br />

A big part of that time has been<br />

in designing a new workshop, and<br />

track, as part of the development here<br />

at Casa Warren (in Portugal). In the<br />

meantime, I have been setting up a<br />

makeshift workshop in the existing<br />

garage. Riding has been a series of<br />

long overdue product tests done over<br />

the course of the very wet three-day<br />

Transalentejo Rally, and putting in<br />

some laps at the local MX track.<br />

I enjoyed a day of racing with my<br />

son at an old school classic motocross<br />

track near my house. Took me back to<br />

the good ol’ days.<br />

Every<br />

other spare<br />

moment<br />

I’ve had I put<br />

into adding the<br />

finishing touches to<br />

my Husky FE350 long-termer. I am<br />

really happy with the bike and the<br />

set-up. The few final adjustments have<br />

really fine-tuned the bike to a point<br />

that I don’t think I have been able to<br />

achieve in my riding career yet, on any<br />

machine. I will be sharing this in the<br />

final feature, ‘In search of the perfect<br />

set-up’ in the next issue.<br />

To finish the month, I am heading<br />

to the launch of the new 2020 KTM<br />

enduro range in Spain. Look out for<br />

blogs and videos from the launch from<br />

May 21.<br />

www.rustsports.com 13


Adventure<br />

16 www.rustsports.com




Words: JB Images: Two Fast Media<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> has had its first ride on the KTM 790<br />

Adventure R. KTM UK whizzed a bunch<br />

of journos over to the newly inaugurated<br />

Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike<br />

Experience in Powys, deepest Wales, where<br />

we sampled both the new 6600 acre facility<br />

as well as the new machine.<br />

We’ll have a full report on the 790<br />

Adventure R when we conduct our<br />

full test (road, dirt and rally) in July<br />

– yes, that’s the earliest we could get<br />

a test bike – but for now based on a day riding<br />

off-road in Welsh mountains (2500ft being the<br />

highest) here’s what we’ve learnt about this bike.<br />

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18<br />




By which we mean the ergonomics are just about spot on. It feels like<br />

a regular dirt bike (not a road bike), with a narrow feel through the mid<br />

section (so you’re not riding with feet miles apart), it has the correct natural<br />

positioning for your body when stood, with your head naturally placed<br />

above the headstock, and when you adopt the Chris Birch adapted standing<br />

position (kind of ¾ standing attack) it’s pitch perfect – yet is equally comfy<br />

when sat cruising. The only limitation is when it comes to seated cornering<br />

(off-road) you can’t get as far forward as you would on a regular enduro bike,<br />

so most off-road cornering you’d be better off stood up.<br />

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KTM 1290 ADVENTURE R<br />

20<br />




You’d think this being a parallel twin of approximately 800cc that it would<br />

feel different to all the other KTM adventure bikes. It doesn’t. Like so many<br />

parallel twins these days it adopts an offset crank position to create a veetwin<br />

feel. So jumping from a 1290 onto the 790, while you notice the power<br />

difference (that’s something like from 160hp down to 90hp), the engine<br />

characteristic, the feel, is very similar. We could go further, to say that it<br />

seems with electronic aids and computer engine management a lot of<br />

engines are getting to feel quite similar these days. You can jump from bike<br />

to bike, crack the throttle on a gravel corner and all will give you that same<br />

digitally-manipulated serving of wheelspin (and slide). Which is both useful<br />

(less crashing) if getting to feel slightly homogenised!<br />

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www.rustsports.com 21


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3. IT’S DYNAMIC<br />

The size, weight, power and proportion of this bike are designed to<br />

work with a more active rider. You don’t stand or sit on this bike, twist<br />

the throttle and let it get on with the job – no, the 790 likes a mobile<br />

rider. On gravel, exiting corners it could be very easy to just crack the<br />

throttle and spin the rear and hand over full control to the computer, but<br />

if you move your weight forward-back, inside-outside the 790 rewards<br />

you with a great feel for rear wheel traction, so rather than shedding<br />

expensive rubber knobblies in the fury of pointlessly spinning wheel,<br />

you can instead shift your hips back and out and feel the traction come<br />

back to you – making for faster, cleaner corner exits. Point being there’s<br />

space on the bike to do all this, you can get right over the front or push<br />

yourself way back (braking hard) and the bike responds. It’s still heavy<br />

by usual dirt bike standards, but not so heavy like a 1250/1290 so the<br />

rider’s weight makes up a greater percentage of the combined mass, and<br />

this means your input has a greater effect. Rally riders will love this, but<br />

recreational riders will benefit, too. It’s about control.<br />

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www.rustsports.com 23


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4. IT’S EASY<br />

If, like us, you saw the video footage from the world launch in Morocco<br />

(all fast riding and big dune jumps) and thought the 790 is all about Billy<br />

Big Balls aping Dakar legends then KTM has sent the wrong message<br />

(or at least not the whole message). The 790 can do this (as you saw) but<br />

equally the 790 is a doddle to ride and very adept at doing slow stuff.<br />

With the options on ride mode, traction control etc you can dial in a<br />

really easy set of responses that are perfectly suited to newish riders,<br />

or riders who like a quiet ride. This bike has enormous potential and<br />

versatility, but it’s up to the rider as to whether he uses its powers for<br />

good (adventure touring) or evil (racing).<br />

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5. WE’RE WON OVER<br />

Those blobby bottom-heavy pannier fuel tanks and the beaky<br />

headlight make for a slightly odd look to the bike that can be initially<br />

off-putting. It’s standard Kiska design if you ask us – they always like<br />

to do something a bit edgy, sometimes downright ugly, but at least<br />

provocative/challenging. Once you’ve ridden the bike the looks matter<br />

less, because the fact is the dynamic design and engineering work well<br />

and KTM has created a bike with great energy. Top riders will abuse it,<br />

make it do crazy things, but for regular riders this will make off-road<br />

adventuring that little bit easier, safer and so more enjoyable. So throw<br />

some panniers on it (probably soft ones now – the latest market trend)<br />

and get out there and just enjoy. This bike isn’t about manufacturers’<br />

bragging rights or travel event campsite Top Trumps, it’s for active riders<br />

who are looking for an active bike.<br />

That’s it for now. Full report will follow given a full test!<br />

www.rustsports.com 27

TESTED<br />

28 www.rustsports.com



it’s adventure by another name<br />

We’ve been itching to try Triumph’s new Bonneville<br />

Scrambler 1200s, they just look way too cool, and the XE<br />

with that 250mm of suspension looks way too capable<br />

to be ignored. And now we’ve tried one, an XE complete<br />

with Extreme Inspiration Kit, what do we think? Yeah,<br />

we’ve got so much to tell you!<br />

Words & Images: JB<br />

I’d been out way too long, enjoying myself too<br />

much. Now it had got dark and I was looking<br />

to finish up the last 30 miles of the ride a bit<br />

quicker. Only this being early April the night<br />

was decidedly cool and my Richa Bonneville<br />

jacket was at its limit in terms of insulation while my<br />

old Spidi 77 gloves were a little thin, too. I was feeling<br />

the chill. ‘I could do with heated grips, right now,’ I<br />

thought. You see, this is where adventure bikes score<br />

so well, they have all these gizmos, proper kitchen sink<br />

jobs they are. Five minutes later I looked down and<br />

spotted this discreet wee button on the left handlebar<br />

grip – what? Heated grips! Heck, when did scramblers<br />

get so practical? So I blasted on home, holding a nice<br />

85mph (ahem), now with warmth radiating into my<br />

palms (ahem). The XE just notched up another win.<br />

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www.rustsports.com 29

TESTED<br />

w<br />

If you’ve read <strong>RUST</strong> for a while and<br />

seen our test of the Triumph Street<br />

Scrambler 900 (<strong>RUST</strong> #32) you’ll know<br />

I’m a fan. But I’m also a pragmatist. As<br />

much as I love the Street Scrambler<br />

it is essentially a street bike – the<br />

suspension, being short travel and<br />

quite basic, totally compromises its<br />

off-road pretentions. Cool for the street,<br />

impractical in the dirt. Now Triumph<br />

has a new generation of Scrambler with<br />

the latest super-punchy 1200cc motor<br />

and you can tell just by looking at the<br />

suspension units they’re addressing the<br />

900’s shortcoming. You can see it in the<br />

marketing, too – guys hoofing the bikes<br />

through deserts and all – these new<br />

Bonneville Scramblers are more than<br />

just styling jobs.<br />


I’m going to deal with the tech quickly.<br />

Partly because (as we often suggest) the<br />

Triumph website says it all and it’s not<br />

difficult to click on that and get all the<br />

detail you need. And partly because I<br />

want to get on and discuss the riding.<br />

So tech: The motor is new generation,<br />

eh? Yep, it’s a full 1200cc eight-valve<br />

SOHC parallel twin with a 270º crank<br />

angle (for character), producing 89<br />

horsepower and a fair 110Nm of torque<br />

(the latter at just 3950rpm). It looks aircooled<br />

– check out the cylinder finning<br />

– but actually it’s water-cooled and<br />

when you ride it slow off-road you’ll<br />

know this as you hear the radiator’s<br />

electric fan cutting in. It’s got a slick<br />

six-speed gearbox and the clutch is<br />

surprisingly cable-operated.<br />

The chassis is unique to these<br />

Scramblers, designed to meet both onand<br />

off-road demands, being traditional<br />

tubular steel with aluminium cradles.<br />

Our test example being the top of the<br />

range XE has 250mm of suspension<br />

travel front and rear, with 47mm Showa<br />

USD forks and twin Öhlins piggyback<br />

shocks. The wheels are very off-road<br />

specific being wire cross-spoke type,<br />

30<br />



with a 21” front and 17” rear (allowing<br />

tubeless tyres – in this instance Metzeler<br />

Tourance). We like that Triumph haven’t<br />

gone overboard with the width of the<br />

rear hoop, it holds a narrower 150/70<br />

section tyre. With all that suspension<br />

the seat height is a moderately tall<br />

870mm. On the alternative XC model,<br />

which has 200mm of suspension travel,<br />

it’s 840mm. The brakes are a fancy<br />

Brembo monobloc 320mm twin disc<br />

setup (the calipers are radially mounted<br />

– and there’s a fancy brake lever to<br />

go with that, too) with a 255mm rear<br />

disc clamped by a Brembo two-piston<br />

caliper.<br />

Other numbers: the fuel tank is a<br />

slightly disappointing 16-litres (but<br />

that’s the cost of creating such a pretty<br />

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www.rustsports.com 31

TESTED<br />

w<br />

shape) which given Triumph’s claimed<br />

58mpg average fuel consumption<br />

should see you within a whiff of 200<br />

miles at a go. Meanwhile claimed<br />

weight (dry) is 207kg. That’s actually a<br />

nice number, heavy for a dirt bike of<br />

course, but compared to the 242kg of<br />

the 1200 Tiger Explorer it’s relatively<br />

light.<br />

Then there’s the electronic tech,<br />

with six riding modes (including offroad<br />

pro for the XE only), a fancy TFT<br />

dash, cornering ABS and traction<br />

control, not to mention a whole host<br />

of interconnectivity whether you’re<br />

into music, GoPro film shooting or<br />

want something more practical like a<br />

navigation app. You can geek yourself<br />

out on the electronics for sure.<br />

SO, THE RIDE<br />

I’m glad that’s the tech over with (hope<br />

you found it moderately helpful) – now<br />

the riding. First impressions – it’s a big<br />

ship. The seat is tallish, although at 6’0” I<br />







could get the balls of my feet down quite<br />

easily – shorter folk might prefer the<br />

XC’s dimensions. And the handlebars<br />

are quite high being set on tallish risers,<br />

wide-ish too, as you’d expect for a<br />

scrambler. They feel a little too straight<br />

on the road, but when stood for offroad<br />

they’re just fine. The seat is a flat<br />

bench type that allows you to move fore<br />

and aft quite easily. Being a trifle thin it<br />

doesn’t bode well for long distances, but<br />

we dare say the aftermarket guys will<br />

come up with a gel type before too long.<br />

As it is, for two-up riding maybe it’s best<br />

32 www.rustsports.com


to restrict yourself to shorter trips.<br />

But despite being tall and big, it’s not<br />

that big, it’s slim-ish and the absence of<br />

bodywork further reduces its sense of<br />

bulk. And pushing it around with those<br />

wide bars and narrow-ish tyres takes<br />

very little effort – actually surprisingly<br />

little, it almost came to be a perverse<br />

pleasure. And when you ride up the<br />

road you’re struck by how narrow the<br />

bike is around your ankles and how as<br />

you look forward your view is barely<br />

interrupted by the wide bars, modest<br />

dash and bar-mounted mirrors. Very<br />

quickly you’re into the 1960s scrambler<br />

feel, it does actually feel pretty authentic<br />

(having ridden a fair few Brit twins from<br />

the 50s and 60s) while obviously being<br />

at the same time ultra-modern.<br />

With certain adventure bikes<br />

punching ridiculous numbers like<br />

160hp you’d think 89hp might feel a bit<br />

weak. But it doesn’t, the Scrambler has<br />

good torque right off the bottom and so<br />

it launches itself pretty vigorously and<br />

the lack of weight further helps here.<br />

You can hotrod away from the traffic<br />

lights for sure. The clutch is surprisingly<br />

light and the gearbox is slick as you’d<br />

like, so you can roost most traffic –<br />

while of course sitting there looking<br />

super-cool in the laid-back scrambler<br />

riding position.<br />

Handling on the street is more secure<br />

than you might first anticipate, given<br />

the 90/90-21 front tyre, and certainly<br />

I can’t recall any undue anxiety<br />

about swinging through bends and<br />

roundabouts. Likewise with the ABS<br />

backup I wasn’t concerned about<br />

crash-braking either. Combine this<br />

with cornering traction control and the<br />

Scrambler is doing a lot to both keep<br />

you safe and riding virtually carefree.<br />

That’s a nice feeling.<br />

There is of course little in the way of<br />

weather protection and yet it was quite<br />

comfortable cruising up to 90mph<br />

without any need to tuck down out of<br />

the airstream. That might not be the<br />

w<br />

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TESTED<br />

w<br />



SCRAMBLER 1200 XE<br />

ENGINE: Liquid-cooled 8-valve SOHC<br />

parallel twin four-stroke<br />

DISPLACEMENT: 1200cc<br />

BORE & STROKE: 97.6 x 80.0mm<br />

MAX POWER: 98hp @ 7400rpm<br />

MAX TORQUE: 110Nm @ 3950rpm<br />

FUELING: Multipoint sequential electronic<br />

Fuel injection<br />

STARTER: Electric<br />

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed gearbox, wet<br />

multiplate clutch<br />

FRAME: Tubular steel with aluminium<br />

cradles<br />

FRONT SUSPENSION: 47mm Showa USD<br />

forks, fully adjustable, 250mm travel<br />

REAR SUSPENSION: Öhlins fully adjustable<br />

piggyback shocks, 250mm travel<br />

WHEELS: Tubeless, aluminum rims, crossspoke,<br />

2.15 x 21” front, 4.25 x 17’ rear<br />

BRAKES: Front discs – 320mm, four-piston<br />

Brembo (radially mounted) calipers – Rear<br />

disc 255mm, twin piston caliper, ABS<br />

SEAT HEIGHT: 870mm<br />

WHEELBASE: 1530mm<br />

WEIGHT: 207kg (dry)<br />

FUEL CAPACITY: 16 l<br />

CONTACT: www.triumphmotorcycles.<br />

co.uk/.com<br />

PRICE: UK from £11500 EU €14800 US<br />

$14,000<br />

case on a windy day, but you don’t<br />

buy this kind of bike for high-speed<br />

motorway work.<br />

OFF-ROAD<br />

So here’s the <strong>RUST</strong>-specific angle – the<br />

off-road performance. Can it do it? Of<br />

course it can. Point being it felt so good,<br />

way better than you could imagine.<br />

Those narrow-ish tyres really help<br />

here. The 21” front rolls easily over the<br />

undulations and over roots and holes<br />

and rides happily along ruts. The rear<br />

being a 150-section doesn’t teeter or<br />

slide unnervingly down off-cambers<br />

nor does it claw up the side of ruts. Both<br />

ends are happy in their work.<br />

And you can ride it in a pretty<br />

dynamic style. Rather than riding the<br />

lowest part of trail as you might on<br />

some big adventure bikes, I found I<br />

could zig-zag quite happily back and<br />

forth, therefore riding across ruts<br />

rather than in them. I’d place the tyres<br />

comfortably into the mini-berms on the<br />

34<br />



outside of corners almost as you would<br />

on an enduro – it rides like a 200kg dirt<br />

bike, not a 200kg road bike pretending<br />

to be a dirt bike.<br />

And when you stop and select the<br />

off-road pro mode, the power delivery<br />

is just sweetness. In fact I liked riding<br />

the Scrambler in this mode pretty much<br />

everywhere (including the street) as<br />

it feels quite unfettered. There’s no<br />

traction control and no ABS and it<br />

allowed skids and wheelies – proper<br />

wheelies without the front crashing<br />

down suddenly the way the traction<br />

control will create in the road modes.<br />

That’s childish behavior, but in the<br />

privacy of your own empty lane what’s<br />

the harm? And popping the odd wheelie<br />

is what Scrambling is all about, wouldn’t<br />

you say?<br />

Now then, it’s not all good. My first<br />

bug-bear – the high pipes. They look<br />

lovely, and these being kit Arrow<br />

brushed-aluminium units they sound<br />

lovely too, but they do push your right<br />

calf away from the bike – meaning you<br />

have to ride slightly bow-legged on<br />

the right side. Now this seems to be a<br />

lot less pronounced than on the Street<br />

Scrambler 900, but it’s still there and it<br />

means you have only half the purchase<br />

on the right foot peg than you would<br />

otherwise have. And riding like this isn’t<br />

long hours sustainable. You could get<br />

around this, to some extent, by fitting<br />

wider rally pegs, and if this bike were<br />

ours, yes we’d do that.<br />

Second disappointment – the<br />

suspension. I love the long travel, I love<br />

the look and the tech – but these units<br />

on this test just felt too firm. Maybe<br />

the springs were too stiff or it’s the<br />

damping that’s too restrictive. Maybe<br />

they’re setup to keep you safe at 80mph<br />

in the desert – to take the big hits – but<br />

doing 20mph in Kent’s green lanes,<br />

which admittedly were surprisingly<br />

hard packed for this time of year, it was<br />

a jarring ride. I was looking for a little<br />

more plushness. Again, if this were<br />

our bike we’d be getting a specialist to<br />

respring/revalve both ends to sort that.<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 35

TESTED<br />

w<br />


Now those two misfires have not put us<br />

off this bike. Not for a minute. You see,<br />

not only is this bike as good as being<br />

our all-time ultimate Scrambler – it<br />

runs the BMW RnineT Scrambler right<br />

to the wire (only the BMW’s sublime<br />

air-oil-cooled motor saves it from being<br />

roundly beaten) – it’s also quite possibly<br />

our choice of ultimate adventure bike as<br />

well!<br />




To explain. We love adventure bikes<br />

here at <strong>RUST</strong>, next to riding our enduros<br />

adventure is our passion. But the arms<br />

race in the adventure sector has led<br />

to massive skew in the market. For<br />

no good reason it seems adventure<br />

bikes now need to also be motocross<br />

proficient while possessing the power<br />

output of a factory world superbike of<br />

just a handful of seasons past. Selling<br />

on Top Trump bragging rights has<br />

pushed the latest adventure bikes into<br />

realms that have absolutely nothing to<br />

do with a casual sight seeing tour of<br />

Sierra Leone.<br />

Back in the 1970s Ted Simon, on his<br />

Police-issue Triumph T100 clearly<br />

chose not bother Roger De Coster<br />

around Namur while on his way across<br />

Europe heading to the Middle East,<br />

neither did he check in with Greg<br />

Hansford at Mount Panorama while<br />

making a tour of Australia’s East Coast.<br />

He just bumped along meeting all<br />

manner of people (and bedding the<br />

odd one too…!) and generally finding<br />

wonder in the world. No feet-up broadsliding,<br />

no 25’ table-top jumps, no<br />

150mph motorway blasts. Yep, it seems<br />

adventure bikes have lost sight of their<br />

humble origins and so when you rock<br />

36<br />



up on an adventure bike these days<br />

you’re more likely to be making a fair<br />

impression of the Millennium Falcon, in<br />

search of Stormtroopers to waste, rather<br />

than being the polite respectful visitor.<br />

So this Scrambler, in being pretty<br />

off-road capable, now comes closer<br />

to being a real adventure bike than<br />

adventure bikes themselves. Without<br />

the acres of plastic that modern<br />

adventure bikes have, it is (again<br />

to quote Mr Simon) seemingly ‘to<br />

a human scale’. And without all the<br />

gizmos (although it harbours a fair few)<br />

and without the screen and fairing<br />

between the rider and the environment,<br />

it connects the rider better with the<br />

world. And where adventure bikes<br />

have become attitude to the point of<br />

try-hard, the casual laid-back cool of<br />

the Scrambler 1200 translates so much<br />

better to the adventure ethos. And here’s<br />

a challenge for you – check out the XC<br />

model with the Escape Inspiration Kit<br />

and tell us you don’t feel an urge to go<br />

discovering?<br />


Bottom line? Triumph has nailed it. The<br />

Scrambler may not yet be perfection but<br />

they’ve made one stunning motorcycle<br />

that is pure pleasure to ride and creates<br />

that urge to just ride. This bike speaks<br />

to you, it looks so right too, so cool, you<br />

can’t resist wanting it. And yes, we want<br />

it!<br />

www.rustsports.com 37


38 www.rustsports.com


SALUTA I<br />


Hey, it took a while getting here, but it’s here now ready for the summer of<br />

2019 – and it turns out the biggest Caballero Scrambler is one sweet ride…<br />

Words & images: JB<br />

We’ve waited a while for this<br />

model, it’s taken longer<br />

than expected to get here<br />

as Fantic have worked<br />

overtime to get it super-refined, but the<br />

wait was worth it, the Fantic Caballero<br />

Scrambler 500 truly impresses. It’s one<br />

sweet ride. If you’ve read our report on<br />

the 125 and 250cc Scramblers (<strong>RUST</strong><br />

#39) you’ll know these are exquisitely<br />

detailed, sweet handling heritagescrambler<br />

styled road bikes. But with<br />

the 500 motor installed – we’re talking a<br />

whole new level.<br />


Given our previous test of these<br />

Caballero Scramblers, there’s just the<br />

one aspect to update ourselves on – the<br />

bigger motor. The motor comes from<br />

Chinese manufacturer Zongshen (as<br />

does the 250) and it’s a 449cc SOHC<br />

unit, and pretty techy given it’s liquidcooled<br />

and fuel injected, not to mention<br />

cat-equipped (so meeting Euro4<br />

regulations) with a six-speed box in<br />

the transmission. And while it’s built<br />

in China, the Italian Fantic squad have<br />

been through it with a fine-tooth comb<br />

speccing the cams they want, refining<br />

the ECU and FI etc. So it’s not just an<br />

arbitrary engine drop-in situation.<br />

In fact, the first round of engine<br />

refinement was masterminded by<br />

British firm Ricardo Engineering (who,<br />

among others, have helped McLaren<br />

with the tune on their road supercars),<br />

while Italian experts Athena worked<br />

on the ECU and FI and another Italian<br />

firm Arrow designed the cool exhaust<br />

system. Fantic themselves took over<br />

final stages of development to create the<br />

best, smoothest, engine tune possible.<br />

So Chinese made – like so much of our<br />

tech these days (so don’t get sniffy) –<br />

but with heaps of European R&D.<br />

The chassis we pretty much already<br />

know about, but check out <strong>RUST</strong> #39<br />

for the full rundown.<br />


Here’s the thing, this 500 (as said,<br />

actually a true 449cc) motor is<br />

something of a peach. There’s a sense of<br />

balance and refinement that shouldn’t<br />

be a surprise, but is. Maybe because<br />

we’ve grown used to riding 650s and<br />

690s, we’re anticipating slightly lumpy<br />

torque-laden acceleration. But being<br />

smaller, with less reciprocating mass<br />

– and even that smoothed by way of a<br />

counter balancer – the power comes<br />

in a little more linear with a sweeter<br />

smoother build. It doesn’t stumble at<br />

low revs either, and you can ride it<br />

right down to near tickover without<br />

the chain-slapping chugga-chugga<br />

that bigger singles often deliver. So w<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />



40<br />



w<br />

you don’t need to ride at a minimum<br />

3500rpm all the time, riding smoothly<br />

at least 1000rpm lower means you can<br />

ride through town just that little more<br />

chilled.<br />

And the bottom-to-mid is impressive.<br />

Clean pick up and decent acceleration<br />

are there and these combined with a<br />

slick shifting well-spaced six-speed<br />

gearbox mean you make easy and<br />

nimble progress. And again, for a single<br />

it feels smooth. The surprise is there’s<br />

actually something of a screaming<br />

top end that goes with that. Often<br />

you have a choice – good low-end<br />

torque or top end rev – to have both<br />

is quite rare. When you anaylse the<br />

specs you can see what we essentially<br />

have here is the equivalent of a 450cc<br />

enduro bike engine, at 40hp it’s what<br />

a CRF450L makes Stateside and pretty<br />

close to what European enduros are<br />

making, so on the cam the sound of<br />

the Scrambler 500 is unsurprisingly not<br />

unlike a competition-tuned 450 enduro.<br />

So instead of short shifting at around<br />

5500rpm, you can hang on to the<br />

throttle and hold out for peak power at<br />

7500rpm. It’s pretty sporty and sounds<br />

even more so on the over-run as the<br />

exhausts spit and pop as the revs come<br />

down.<br />

Now I read the odometer on the<br />

test bike more than a little wrong<br />

(which is forgivable given the whole<br />

instrument console is a bit titchy)<br />

thinking it said 1480 miles when in<br />

fact the total mileage at time of testing<br />

was just 148 miles. So wringing out<br />

the poor Scrambler through the gears<br />

was probably not the go, but is what<br />

happened. And consequently while<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 41


42<br />



it didn’t feel as tight as it might, it did<br />

struggle to rev-out in top, so while<br />

fifth gear reached 80mph, sixth kind<br />

of plateaued at 90mph. At the time,<br />

not knowing the real mileage it felt<br />

to me like it was over geared, but<br />

perhaps it was just too new, with more<br />

(considerate) miles on the clock it will<br />

loosen up and could probably make<br />

100mph, not that outright velocity is<br />

what this bike is about. It was riding<br />

nice and stable at these speeds, mind.<br />


Now the 500 motor comes with<br />

something of a weight penalty, all<br />

that extra metal shifts the Scrambler<br />

up from 140kg as a 250, to 150kg as<br />

a 500 (claimed dry weights there).<br />

Back to back you might well notice<br />

this difference, but the only feedback<br />

I got was one of lightness and quick<br />

handling. The combination of a 19”<br />

front and 17” rear, with Pirelli Scorpion<br />

Rally STR tyres, is a fine, quality choice,<br />

while Fantic’s 41mm USD forks and<br />

monoshock rear, while slightly firm<br />

(again this can be down to being brand<br />

new and not bedded-in), make for<br />

quick but predictable steering. And you<br />

have to appreciate the quality that’s<br />

thrown into this chassis, check-out the<br />

CNC milled fork yokes, engine plates<br />

and the handsome chro-moly frame.<br />

Likewise the Byre brakes (being a<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 43




w<br />

subsidiary of Brembo) worked well and<br />

given the short wheelbase actually best<br />

performance was obtained by using<br />

both front and back in equal measure<br />

thereby better balancing the bike.<br />

Some people might be inclined to ride<br />

the Scrambler off-road – after all it’s in<br />

the name. But really this feels to be a<br />

street scrambler at heart. I’m not sure<br />

the suspension set-up will suit either,<br />

and being a relatively short bike it’s not<br />

best balanced for standing work, and<br />

in any case standing is compromised<br />

by the bulging exhaust mufflers under<br />

your right calf. Sat down cruising gently<br />

along hard pack trails or gravel, I can<br />

see that, but for rutty green lanes there<br />

are better options. There’s a Rally model<br />

coming soon, with a full 200mm of<br />

suspension – that’s more likely to be the<br />

off-roading / adventure choice.<br />

TOP WORK<br />

In all, we’ve got to give Fantic a big<br />

thumbs up for the Caballero Scrambler<br />

500. We liked the smaller versions,<br />

but the 500 is for us the real deal, the<br />

engine performance marries perfectly<br />

with the chassis and it delivers exactly<br />

what it promises. The styling is<br />

exquisite and the engine is really well<br />

tuned. It ducks under the 47hp EU A2<br />

motorcycle power limit, too, so this<br />

further enhances its attraction. Yeah, an<br />

excellent job. Oh, and fun to ride!<br />


ENGINE: water-cooled single-cylinder<br />

SOHC four-valve four-stroke<br />

CAPACITY: 449cc<br />

CLAIMED POWER: 40hp at 7500rpm<br />

CLAIMED TORQUE: 43Nm at 6000rpm<br />

FUELLING: Electronic fuel injection<br />

Athena GET 40mm throttle body<br />

GEARBOX: Six-speed, wet multi-plate<br />

clutch<br />

FRAME: CroMo steel tube cradle<br />


forks, 150mm travel<br />

REAR SUSPENSION: Single shock,<br />

progressive link, 150mm travel<br />

WHEELS/TYRES: 110/80-19, 140/80-17<br />

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR<br />

BRAKES: front: 320mm disc, twinpiston<br />

caliper, rear: 230mm disc single<br />

piston caliper<br />

WHEELBASE: 1425mm<br />

SEAT HEIGHT: 820mm<br />

FUEL CAPACITY: 12 litres<br />

CLAIMED WEIGHT: 150kg<br />

PRICE: Caballero/Flat Track 500<br />

UK £6399<br />

44<br />


NEW FOR 2019<br />

RALLY 500<br />

• Single cylinder 450cc twin cam motor<br />

• Arrow stainless exhaust as standard<br />

• Headlamp guard & number board<br />

• Lightweight aluminium swing arm<br />

• Sump guard & radiator guard<br />

• 2 way adjustable suspension<br />

• Progressive link suspension<br />

• Disengageable ABS<br />

• CNC triple clamps<br />

• Bybre brakes<br />



• Choose your power 125, 250 or 500<br />

• Arrow stainless exhaust as standard<br />

• Progressive link suspension<br />

• Disengageable ABS<br />

• CNC triple clamps<br />

• Bybre brakes<br />

• Lowering kits now available<br />

• 125 variants L plate legal<br />

See full model range and find dealers at:<br />


Classic style doesn't<br />

end with the bike<br />

Check out Bell Helmet's<br />

Classic Collection<br />

A select range of Bell Helmets is now available through<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> at www.bell-motorcycle-helmets.co.uk

*<strong>RUST</strong> subscribers get member discounts

tRAIL<br />



No sooner was our man Chris Evans out of Dakar than he could<br />

very well be back in again. And, as he said in his last column,<br />

heading for the Middle East (we’ll miss South America…).<br />

Meanwhile, in more relatable news, he’s been sorting the<br />

restoration of his old Fantic 200 (just to make JB jealous)<br />

Words: Chris Evans<br />

So much has happened since<br />

I last wrote that I could easily<br />

fill up a column and a half,<br />

but editorial redlines won’t<br />

stand for that, so I’ll try and keep it as<br />

compact as possible…<br />


The first bit of exciting news was the<br />

announcement that David Castera has<br />

been made boss of the Dakar. ‘David<br />

who?’ some of you might be asking.<br />

Well he was the last man to ever win<br />

the daddy of all extreme enduros, the<br />

Gilles Lalay Classic, narrowly beating<br />

a young Cyril Despres. He then went<br />

on to create a race in the south west<br />

of France called the Shark Xtreme and<br />

very kindly loaned me large chunks of<br />

it for my Pyrenees route. Following on<br />

from there he was appointed sporting<br />

director of the Dakar, something I<br />

had a small hand in, before leaving to<br />

become Cyril Despres’ Peugeot codriver,<br />

something I had a small hand<br />

in. When Peugeot pulled the plug on<br />

their Dakar programme he bought the<br />

Rallye du Maroc and I went to work for<br />

him, knowing that in the process that<br />

it would mean being sacked from the<br />

Dakar. And now he’s back as the boss,<br />

meaning that little old me might well<br />

48 www.rustsports.com

Chris Evans<br />

be back in the Dakar fold.<br />

The second bit of breaking Dakar<br />

news was the announcement that<br />

the Dakar would be moving to Saudi<br />

Arabia – something I suggested might<br />

happen in my last column. This has<br />

inevitably met with mixed reactions<br />

among Dakar regulars and a whole<br />

load of followers on social media. And<br />

it is easy to understand the polemic.<br />

I mean, it isn’t a country universally<br />

approved of in the West. It again<br />

means another ‘one country’ Dakar (at<br />

least in the short term) and for many<br />

it isn’t a dream destination. On the<br />

other hand it does have a lot of desert,<br />

about four times the size of France,<br />

and a lot of that is sand dune, which<br />

is obviously the holy grail of rallyraid<br />

terrain. From a purely personal<br />

point of view it will be interesting to<br />

discover a new country and culture.<br />

I found working on the Silkway Rally<br />

(something I will be doing again this<br />

summer) fascinating. Going from<br />

Russia through Mongolia to China was<br />

an amazing experience and this year<br />

there’s the added bonus of motorcycles<br />

competing on the event for the first<br />

time.<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />


tRAIL<br />

w<br />

John Hall with Chris’ tool<br />

collection in its entirety<br />

50<br />


Chris Evans<br />











Away from exotic locations to the<br />

more prosaic setting of a garage in<br />

Maidstone, the other thing that has<br />

got me very excited these last few<br />

months has been restoring my 1982<br />

Fantic 200. For family reasons I knew<br />

I was going to have to spend quite a<br />

bit of time in the UK at the beginning<br />

of the year and needed something to<br />

keep me entertained. So I slung the<br />

Fantic, which hasn’t turned a wheel<br />

in the over 20 years, into the back<br />

of the van and dropped it off at the<br />

home of 10 times British sidecar trials<br />

vice champion John Hall. Mr Hall,<br />

as I call him, and myself go back an<br />

awful long way. He was a mechanic<br />

for numerous British Dakar riders and<br />

for many years provided assistance<br />

on Sport Adventure’s trips. Without<br />

wishing to sound over-sentimental he<br />

is someone I have enormous respect<br />

and affection for. The only problem<br />

is that we have widely differing views<br />

about virtually everything, so we can’t<br />

actually sit down and have a cup of tea<br />

and a chat. The only way we can really<br />

enjoy each other’s company is if we are<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 51

tRAIL<br />

w<br />

RIGHT Looking spiffily like new, JB not<br />

impressed BELOW: Presumably the extra<br />

length on the header pipe denotes ‘works’<br />

spec (tape measure reads in metric and<br />

imperial to help our American readers)<br />

doing something together. The Fantic<br />

therefore was the perfect pretext. Did I<br />

mention he is an excellent mechanic?<br />

The first thing Mr Hall asked me<br />

once we’d got the bike out of the van<br />

and into his garage was, ‘what do<br />

you want it to be, a reliable runner or<br />

a show-pony?’ This wasn’t actually<br />

a question I’d asked myself. I mean<br />

obviously it needs to run, but since<br />

I’d criticised Mr Bentman in virtual<br />

print for slinging his Honda trials<br />

bike together with scant regard for<br />

aesthetics it obviously needs to look a<br />

million dollars as well. Plus, as Mr Hall<br />

pointed out, it won’t be nearly as nice<br />

to ride as my reliable-runner Montesa<br />

315.<br />

So we were already erring to the<br />

side of show pony when a few photos<br />

I posted on a Fantic restoration<br />

Facebook page elicited a certain<br />

amount of excitement. Apparently<br />

the top mounts on the rear shocks<br />

are ‘factory’, as is my exhaust pipe –<br />

which would explain why it was such<br />

a bastard to get off. Current opinion<br />

is either it’s a factory bike, a bike<br />

modified to factory spec by the UK<br />

importers or a privateer bike modified<br />

by someone using factory specs. I have<br />

a hunch the latter is probably the most<br />

likely scenario but whatever the case<br />

might be it has clearly pushed us in the<br />

show pony direction.<br />

A direction very much aided and<br />

abetted by Mr Hall’s incredible network<br />

of blokes in sheds spread across the<br />

south of England providing the most<br />

amazing services. There’s a chap<br />

near Virginia Water doing the most<br />

incredible things with a vapour blaster<br />

who can ceramic coat things at very<br />

reasonable prices. There’s someone<br />

in the South West (confusingly called<br />

Bradford Ignitions) who can rewind<br />

your stator, there’s a shop in Surrey<br />

52<br />


Chris Evans<br />



12/13/14 June Lozerien Bis<br />

19/20/21 June Cantal<br />

4/5/6 Sept Cantal<br />

23/24/25 Oct Massif du Morvan<br />

6/7/8 Nov Dordogne<br />

20/21/22 Nov Normandie<br />

called In Motion Twinshock Trials<br />

(actually a very large and well laid out<br />

shed) where you can buy virtually<br />

everything you need to restore a Fantic<br />

200 off the shelf and finally there’s<br />

Eurocarb, the other side of Reading<br />

who will look at your Dellorto, tell<br />

you what needs replacing and then<br />

it sell it to you. Not only were all of<br />

these people friendly, knowledgeable<br />

and helpful they were also in no<br />

way ripping you off. The only bad<br />

experience I have had to date is with a<br />

company that zinc plated all the bolts<br />

in a very haphazard fashion. Zincplater<br />

apart it’s been a thoroughly<br />

enjoyable experience, Mr Hall and I<br />

have barely touched on politics and<br />

we’ve got the engine back in the frame.<br />

The bike doesn’t actually run yet and<br />

there’s still at least three more days<br />

work left to go but I think its going to<br />

look absolutely beautiful at home in my<br />

bedroom. I might even ride it up and<br />

down the road a couple of times before<br />

I push it up the stairs.<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />

$<br />

All trips are priced at £560 (payable to ABTA bonded and ATOL<br />

protected UK travel agency S&N Pickford). Price includes 3<br />

days riding, 2 nights half-board accommodation, loan of road<br />

book and road book reader, support vehicle and driver, an<br />

opener and sweeper and a classy T-shirt. Please don't hesitate<br />

to contact us if you would like any further information.<br />

Chris Evans, Sport Adventure<br />

Tel: 0033 662 487190<br />

chris.evans@sport-adventure.com<br />


ally<br />

w<br />

54 www.rustsports.com

DAKAR<br />

Craig’s Dare<br />

to Dakar<br />

As seen in <strong>RUST</strong> #41, our man Craig Keyworth is set on competing in Dakar 2020.<br />

Having finished in the Rallye du Maroc in 2018, this year he’s set a few challenges to<br />

get himself match-fit for this next Dakar. That’s meant events including Merzouga<br />

(a Dakar qualifier), the Scottish Six Days Trial and Romaniacs! Here we catch up with<br />

Craig on his return from Merzouga and prior to setting off the SSDT…<br />

Interview: Craig Keyworth Images: JB & CK<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />


ally<br />

w<br />

Part Two: SSDT!?<br />

The SSDT - ‘The Scottish’ was<br />

first run in 1909, and has been<br />

running ever since (with<br />

breaks for the two world wars).<br />

It is a world-class event, one of a kind<br />

and the equivalent of the TT Races<br />

for the trials scene. The trials world<br />

championship is where you’ll find the<br />

white-hot heat of the elite going feet-up<br />

head-to-head (or should that be toe-totoe?),<br />

like MotoGP, but the enormity of<br />

the natural rock sections of the Scottish<br />

and the sheer length – six long days –<br />

makes it the most unique and seriously<br />

intimidating ‘natural’ challenge.<br />

It registered on my radar as in<br />

preparation for my Dakar in 2020 I’d<br />

drawn up a quick mental list of events<br />

that would give me the best bike time,<br />

be multi day events requiring stamina,<br />

solid bike prep and take me out of my<br />

comfort zone. Aside from the requisite<br />

qualification rallies there were a good<br />

few other contenders, of which the<br />

SSDT is naturally one.<br />


Now I’ve wobbled around<br />

Lincolnshire on the trials bike for a<br />

few years, I’m not a bad trials rider,<br />

but I’m by no means a great one.<br />

Dougie Lampkin need not worry<br />

about his Belstaff sponsorship. Mid<br />

level clubman rider is probably being<br />

modest on a good day, and generous<br />

on a bad day. I do have fun on a<br />

trials bike though, and, I’m afraid<br />

to say, this isn’t always a popular<br />

approach in many of the clubs I’ve<br />

ridden with. So I tend to be the lad<br />

who’s making the most derogatory<br />

comments at the expense of myself<br />

and the small group I’m riding with,<br />

plus sometimes anyone who seems<br />

a bit too grumpy – this is commonly<br />

referred to as ‘taking the piss’. A lot<br />

like my school reports – if I were to<br />

concentrate a bit more I’d get much<br />

better scores. It’s much more fun<br />

among the jokers at the back though,<br />

eh!? This is playtime after all.<br />

56<br />


DAKAR<br />

A lot like my school<br />

reports – if I were<br />

to concentrate a bit<br />

more I’d get much<br />

better scores<br />

Whilst sat on the now slightly famous<br />

‘open plan’ workshop toilet, I stuck a<br />

ballot entry in for the Scottish, as well as<br />

convincing a couple of mates to do the<br />

same. Safe in the knowledge that you<br />

never get in on the first attempt... One<br />

of those old trials misgivings it seems. A<br />

few weeks later, and I’m in. But none of<br />

my mates are. Oh...<br />

As ever, I turned to Google: “How<br />

good a trials rider do you need to be to<br />

complete the SSDT?” I should probably<br />

have checked this before, but the<br />

answer I was looking for was there. “In<br />

theory a decent clubman level rider<br />

should be able to get round, but...”<br />

Perfect. No need to search anymore...<br />

What’s (maybe) interesting about the<br />

events and push bike races I’ve done<br />

in the past is that as well as racing in<br />

the UK I just went over to the Alps and<br />

did some events I fancied there - some<br />

rounds of the Grundig DH World Series<br />

for example, then came home when I<br />

ran out of cash or needed to go back to<br />

college. I was 17/18 and just got up and<br />

went on my own; I’m not sure I asked<br />

if I was ‘allowed’ (I was living at home<br />

with my parents).<br />

It was about the adventure, the<br />

unknown wrapped up into the circus<br />

that is racing. Whole transient towns<br />

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www.rustsports.com 57

ally<br />

w<br />

springing up in the middle of sleepy<br />

mountain villages, shiny kit, vans and<br />

trucks with the back drop of beautifully<br />

unforgiving mountains. Super cool<br />

dudes stood shoulder to shoulder with<br />

wizened mountain men in the little<br />

Alpine bars drinking Aperol Spritz<br />

in their off season from being ski<br />

instructors. I’d found myself. The beauty<br />

of this is that the circus is exactly that –<br />

moving. Every time a slightly different<br />

venue, region or challenge. The<br />

problem of course is that you’re then<br />

forever chasing those early adventures.<br />

Getting back to the Scottish; I’d<br />

watched the Ross Noble SSDT TV<br />

program from last year and hats off<br />

to Ross – he finished, even with the<br />

pressures of tours, his day job and his<br />

first entry, he got round and finished the<br />

week. There are a lot more detractors<br />

that don’t get off their backsides and<br />

will sneer at people, than there are folk<br />

who’ve finished a Scottish, so well done<br />

Ross.<br />

My plan, which isn’t complex, is to<br />

crash through the week taking as few<br />

fives as possible. I’ll be the happiest rider<br />

if I’m getting cleans, I’m sure. If I can<br />

clean one section a day I’ll be made up.<br />

Dougie last year ran totally clean up<br />

right up until the last day, where he put<br />

one foot down. One dab in a whole six<br />

days. Amazing.<br />


Victory favours the prepared, and I<br />

needed all the help I could get, so in<br />

preparation catch up I picked up the<br />

phone and burdened some proper<br />

talent. Wayne Braybrook (trials and<br />

extreme enduro rider of some note)<br />

has supported my rally efforts to date,<br />

and was pretty solid with advice and<br />

motivation at various points. I’ve done<br />

some enduro training days with him<br />

and I love his approach. I’d mentioned<br />

I was doing the Scottish and he’d made<br />

the mistake of offering to help me out<br />

with a few pointers, so I managed to<br />

grow this into a day with him at Pateley<br />

Bridge, North Yorkshire. Lincolnshire<br />

is not renowned for rocky riverbeds.<br />

Nearly all of my trials have been ridden<br />

in Lincolnshire...<br />

So two days after my return from<br />

Merzouga Rally 2019 I was in a<br />

borrowed van heading North up the<br />

58<br />


DAKAR<br />

Wayne just asked<br />

rather matter of<br />

factly, “Are you<br />

planning on riding<br />

on THIS?”<br />

A1(M). As the beggar here, I was tied by<br />

Wayne’s other RAW Academy bookings<br />

and his enduro series schedule. I’d gone<br />

as far as starting an otherwise dirty and<br />

dusty trials bike, given the tyres a quick<br />

squeeze and thrown it into the back of<br />

the works van.<br />

Tired, fatigued and I’d got a bit of a<br />

sore shoulder/upper arm after a little<br />

crash in the desert, plus all of the other<br />

standard excuses too. I’d spent about<br />

50 hours of the previous week riding a<br />

rally prepped 450 enduro bike through<br />

huge sand dunes. Then driven home.<br />

I pushed a bit here and there and just<br />

missed out on my target of a podium<br />

in enduro class, coming home 4th and<br />

28th overall. Respectable. Tiring. Not<br />

trials.<br />

I was typically late to arrive and<br />

Wayne was up and out, waiting in<br />

what is a pretty stunning location up<br />

by Gouthwaite Reservoir. Not far from<br />

where, many moons ago, I’d raced my<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 59

ally<br />

w<br />

downhill bike in what was then the<br />

NEMBA DH series. Long time ago that!<br />

I apologised for being late and quickly<br />

got into my kit. JB was there with an<br />

array of cameras and some youthful<br />

enthusiasm, having ridden up from<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> HQ that morning (only a near sixhour<br />

ride on his Suzuki V-Strom XT).<br />

I was given exactly 30 seconds to<br />

compose myself before I was riding up<br />

a rocky river bed, being filmed by JB<br />

and watched eagle eyed by WB. I know<br />

I’m wobbly. Did I mention I’ve got a<br />

poorly shoulder?<br />

DO IT AGAIN.<br />

AND AGAIN.<br />

WB: “One more time Craig, but try and<br />

relax, you’re riding like a novice....<br />

“Right, I can work with this.”<br />

I knew I was gripping the bike<br />

unnecessarily. I knew I was tense and<br />

I knew it looked terrible which made it<br />

even more frustrating.<br />

Wayne watched me pick a line and<br />

ride it a few different ways, and then<br />

we’d walk through it. We dissected every<br />

rock and turn, why I should change<br />

an approach, how I should look to<br />

minimise risk and where the grip is. I’d<br />

have another go. I was slowly heading<br />

back into trials mode. Almost.<br />

Wayne was keen to get me working.<br />

We stepped it up a notch. He was<br />

keen to see me get the bike wedged<br />

in some big rocks, not just for his<br />

amusement, but so I’d a taste of the<br />

physical demands of wrestling a trials<br />

bike from the grip of the kind of mess I’ll<br />

inevitably spend a good amount of time<br />

in during the week of the Scottish. I was<br />

looking for footpeg catchers, looking<br />

for safe grip on rocks I’d instinctively<br />

just try and launch over, and probably<br />

fail, or come into the next rock too fast<br />

and offline. Most importantly, I was<br />

looking to get the bike to work when<br />

getting out of a section, rather than<br />

my skinny cycling arms doing all the<br />

work. I’m a pretty diligent student and<br />

was obligingly getting the bike wedged<br />

firmly pretty much every time I tried to<br />

get up the difficult section. I verified,<br />

between heavy breaths, that I was<br />

SUPPOSED to be getting stuck – and<br />

Wayne was polite enough to confirm...<br />

Wayne had never seen me ride a<br />

trials bike, and has a good few (many!)<br />

Scottish rides under his belt (with a topthree<br />

result I understand). He confirmed<br />

I was not wasting my money and was<br />

keen to point out that he was trying to<br />

compress a recommended three years<br />

of prep into one session!<br />


There’s a more ‘normal’ route to a<br />

successful completion and it seemingly<br />

doesn’t usually start on the toilet when<br />

you’re looking to punish yourself<br />

(hmm, maybe that doesn’t sound right).<br />

Yes, this sounds worse than it is! The<br />

60<br />


DAKAR<br />

philosophy and approach obviously<br />

differ to your average local club trial,<br />

with the sections much longer, plus the<br />

‘non stop’ rule – you must continue to<br />

move forward at all times. A real shame<br />

as I’m great at ‘track stands’ and could<br />

stay in one spot almost indefinitely,<br />

also at roll backs, which aren’t allowed<br />

anywhere! Both of my signature moves<br />

are useless to me.<br />

We discussed my bike, how its<br />

shabby appearance and lack of any<br />

maintenance, routine or otherwise,<br />

might need a look into. Actually, after<br />

pumping up the tyres (apparently you<br />

CAN have too little air in a trial tyre)<br />

Wayne just asked rather matter of factly,<br />

“Are you planning on riding on THIS?”<br />

Well, no actually. Seemingly one<br />

of the biggest pitfalls to the average<br />

clubman, after poor fitness and bike<br />

prep, is the administration of getting<br />

around. These are big days on a bike<br />

in trials terms, and the clock is always<br />

ticking. For me it’s a sort of busman’s<br />

holiday, but I’m advised by a number of<br />

finishers that I must push on and not<br />

fall into the trap of thinking I’m actually<br />

on holiday.<br />

With this in mind I’m back into an<br />

area I really am pro at - convincing<br />

myself to buy a new bike. I’ve only ever<br />

ridden my Gas Gas two-strokes in trials,<br />

so we decided that I should buy a new<br />

one (that’s me, my inner self and what<br />

I take to be encouragement from the<br />

assembled crowd of self confessed bike<br />

perverts). There were however none<br />

available. Anywhere. So in a fortuitous<br />

turn of events – as they’re renowned<br />

for being perfect for being able to ‘make<br />

pace’ on the open going (the bit I’ll<br />

probably do OK at) – I found a new and<br />

rather pretty looking Honda Montesa 4rt<br />

in Repsol colours. You can never have<br />

too many bikes…<br />


Who knows? We’ll see how Craig gets on at<br />

the Scottish (do also check in on our blogs<br />

on the website). Maybe also Craig will have<br />

news on his chosen machine for the Dakar.<br />

And then there’s the small matter of riding the<br />

Romaniacs. It’s all happening a bit fast…<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 61

ENDURO<br />

meet the new<br />


2019 YAMAHA WR450F<br />

Yamaha’s mighty WR450F has been that, mighty – like high and mighty<br />

– almost since its inception. Great for experts, only not so good for<br />

clubmen. But their 2019 WR450F could very well change all that…<br />

Words & Images: JB<br />

ometimes you just need to stop, take a moment to really<br />

observe. At first glance the 2019 Yamaha WR450F looks like a<br />

modest development of the 2018 model (which was in effect<br />

the third year of production of the reverse-cylinder WR that<br />

debuted for the 2016 model year). But if you really stop, take a<br />

look and – as importantly – sift through the details in the spec<br />

sheet, then you’ll see this is pretty much an all-new model.<br />

Yamaha hasn’t given any definitive details on this (percentages<br />

and all) but so much has changed. It looks similar but that’s a new<br />

engine, a new chassis. And so when you get to ride it – yes, a lot has<br />

indeed changed. In WR history this is a significant milestone. w<br />

62 www.rustsports.com

2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />


ENDURO<br />

w<br />

Of course what’s confusing us here<br />

is the lack of product launch – we’re<br />

used to manufacturers singing from<br />

the highest towers, flooding social<br />

media with teasers, doing a little razzle<br />

dazzle – getting us all excited. Instead,<br />

on this occasion, we’ve come – alone –<br />

to a farmyard in a very wet and wintry<br />

Wales, wheeled out a solitary example<br />

– don’t frighten the cows – and got<br />

on with it! So without the preamble,<br />

without the build up, the story here<br />

really does come as something of a<br />

surprise.<br />

Yep, within yards we could already<br />

tell here was something special. Within<br />

ten minutes we were pretty much sold.<br />

If we weren’t such paupers we’d be<br />

asking: How much? Where do we sign?<br />

Yamaha has made a new WR450F that,<br />

while not quite night and day different<br />

to the last version, is so far removed as<br />

to be a very different animal. The ‘old’<br />

WR we personified as being a touch<br />

brutal, even Yamaha called it “not for the<br />

inexperienced”. Great for rally we said,<br />

but for big guys only when it comes to<br />







64<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />

enduro (talking in a European / woods<br />

context). This new one – well, it’s got<br />

its enduro mojo back. And more than<br />

that, in more than one way it’s definitely<br />

spectacular; spectacular enough to<br />

cause a few concerns with certain<br />

competitors we’re sure…<br />

WHAT’S NEW?<br />

The motor is new. Same concept as<br />

before, being a reverse cylinder set<br />

up, but so many details have changed.<br />

Essentially it’s the new motor that went<br />

into the 2018 YZ450F, now modified<br />

for off-road. That new motor featured<br />

an all-new, lighter cylinder head, with<br />

new cam profiles. Down below there’s a<br />

new crank, the piston now features boxbridge<br />

structure while the gudgeon pin<br />

has been DLC coated. The gearbox has<br />

been fettled with wider surface areas on<br />

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www.rustsports.com 65

enduro<br />

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66<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />

the cogs and dogs, the clutch plates are<br />

updated and there’s a stiffer outer plate.<br />

Significantly the Keihin fuel injection<br />

has been replaced by a Mikuni setup.<br />

The radiators are bigger (but slimmer)<br />

and even the exhaust has been made<br />

shorter for better mass centralization.<br />

And, good news here, the Power Tuner<br />

gadget has been pensioned off, now<br />

you can alter the WR’s tune by using a<br />

phone App, a pretty fancy one too with<br />

neat graphics. By the way, we note the<br />

kick-start has now gone – some weight<br />

saving there!<br />

The chassis is new, too. Again, it<br />

looks like the last one, still being a<br />

bilateral beam frame, but the details<br />

are much changed, with more bracing<br />

in the upper frame for more rigidity,<br />

redesigned rear frame spars and<br />

the engine mounts have moved, so<br />

the engine sits a little more upright.<br />

There’s even what Yamaha call ‘a larger<br />

absorption zone’ (whatever that is?).<br />

Meanwhile that off-road necessity,<br />

the sidestand, is now a thoroughly<br />

European type being tucked high and<br />

tight into the left side of the bike.<br />

Around all this, the bodywork has<br />

been significantly slimmed, most<br />

notably around the radiator shrouds,<br />

while the seat is 2cm narrower at the<br />

mid section and lower through the rear<br />

section; the seat height is in fact 10mm<br />

lower. As well, the air box has been<br />

revised so it’s a no-tool job to open it<br />

up and swap the filter. Yet, while the<br />

bodywork is slimmer the fuel capacity<br />

has been increased, now 7.9 litres<br />

(apparently expandable to 8.5-litres if<br />

you remove an internal funnel).<br />

As you’d imagine, the Kayaba<br />

suspension has again been updated,<br />

taking the units from the new<br />

motocrosser and modifying these to<br />

off-road use. The forks – twin chamber<br />

type – now feature a slightly firmer<br />

spring (was 4.5, now 4.6Nm) and there’s<br />

more oil, too. The shock has the same<br />

weight spring (46Nm) but the coil has<br />

dropped 350 grammes while there’s<br />

30cc more fluid in the reservoir to<br />

combat (heat) fatigue.<br />

In fact when you check the numbers<br />

there are so many changes. That engine<br />

bore and stroke has changed just a<br />

smidge, it was 97.0 x 60.8mm to give<br />

449cc, but it’s now 97.0 x 60.9mm to<br />

give a full 450cc. Small difference there,<br />

but its confirmation of change. Likewise<br />

the compression ratio has been raised<br />

from 12.5 to 12.8:1. Numbers like these<br />

might make you think that Yamaha has<br />

been tuning the beast up all the more,<br />

but not so (as we’ll explain later).<br />

Likewise the chassis numbers are<br />

changing too. Wheelbase in 2018 is<br />

listed as 1465mm, now it’s 1480mm<br />

– this in part would seem to come from<br />

a relaxed steering head angle which<br />

has been let out nearly a whole degree<br />

(now 27º) while trail is slightly more<br />

at 116mm (was 114mm). Seat height,<br />

as said, has been lowered from 965 to<br />

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ENDURO<br />

w<br />


WR450F’S<br />

Best bits<br />


This should make things easier, especially as we’re<br />

talking Wi-Fi here, not a plug-in. The App works with<br />

a Communication Control Unit (part of the WR’s<br />

race kit) which as well as adjusting the fuelling and<br />

ignition maps will also give useful information like<br />

intake and ambient air temperatures, maintenance<br />

scheduling, system diagnostics, engine run time, it’ll<br />

even keep a race log. So while you can dial the power<br />

down with the blue button, you can dial it down more<br />

with the App. How gentle would you like your 450?<br />


The old WR450F was a big beast, tall<br />

and sometimes vicious. This new one<br />

is lower in the seat by 10mm, but by<br />

being 20mm narrower in that seat it’s<br />

also again much easier to get boot to<br />

the floor. The narrower radiator shrouds<br />

mean you can get your weight further<br />

forward for cornering, while the lower<br />

rear frame rails mean it’s easier to sling a<br />

leg over. It really is significantly smaller.<br />

68<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />


Kayaba are a quality brand and their SSS dual<br />

cartridge USD forks are positively benchmark<br />

for the industry. They can be stiff when brand<br />

new (on our 2015 WR250F we backed off the<br />

compression adjusters both on the fork and<br />

shock totally until we had about 10 hours on<br />

them) but once bedded-in they are sublime<br />

and they can keep their performance for long<br />

service intervals. On the 2019 WR450F they<br />

gave magic carpet smoothness.<br />


In the past the poor WR450F has suffered<br />

for being a bit awkward with some details.<br />

Sharp motor, clunky headlight, sticky-out<br />

sidestand, and bulbous bodywork. It wasn’t<br />

far wrong – hey, in Australia the WR450F<br />

is the top selling dirt bike – but it needed<br />

tidying, focus. This 2019 model has that<br />

focus, it’s sleek and purposeful, and<br />

someone in their R&D he knows enduro –<br />

or perhaps he just knows who to talk to.<br />

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www.rustsports.com<br />


ENDURO<br />

w<br />

955mm. And all-up weight (fully fuelled)<br />

has dropped from 123 to 119kg. With a<br />

new fuel capacity of 7.9 litres we make<br />

that around 113kg dry. KTM suggest<br />

their 450EXC-F weighs 106kg without<br />

fuel. Certain sources suggest further<br />

weight savings can be had by swapping<br />

to a li-ion battery. All in all, the Yamaha<br />

has dropped the kilos and the bulk.<br />

They allude to 250-size proportions,<br />

which is a touch optimistic (probably<br />

250 dimensions back in 1999!), but<br />

absolutely it is smaller.<br />

THE RIDE<br />

Point being, while still being a<br />

significant motorcycle (you know, big<br />

bike) the WR450F is most certainly a<br />

lot less intimidating than it used to be<br />

and you could say – let’s say it – it’s a<br />

whole lot more user friendly. The old<br />

WR450F experience was akin to being a<br />

monkey on the back of startled stallion.<br />

Pretty wild, certainly very exciting. But<br />

you knew you were the monkey, and<br />

as a monkey you were no match for the<br />

pure bred you were clinging to. With<br />

the new WR450F it is at last not only<br />

working with you, but flattering you.<br />

Even if you’re just a club rider. Really.<br />

The engine feels way tamer than<br />

it was, without in any way being<br />

emasculated. It still has the speed. In<br />

a way we’re almost relieved it doesn’t<br />

have a sixth gear because when you<br />

hold onto the revs in fifth it’s already<br />

incredibly fast. Mumbo for sure. But it<br />

doesn’t light up the way it used to. You<br />

could live in fear of the bottom end snap<br />

of the old WR, in sketchy slippery going<br />

it was hair-trigger stuff. There’s none of<br />

that nonsense with the new WR450F,<br />

this is civilized stuff, there’s authority<br />

still, but you – not it – determine the<br />

pace. We hauled up some honking nice<br />

climbs and on these the WR450F is pure<br />

joy – just get balanced and pour on the<br />

coals, in fact you pour on only so much<br />

because it flies.<br />

The important thing is the finesse is<br />

there. You can play with the throttle and<br />

what you get is what you asked for. Yet<br />

the power is so big you also have that<br />

wonderful choice – lug or rev. You can<br />

be two gears above where you should<br />

70<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />


2019 YAMAHA WR450F<br />

ENGINE : liquid-cooled DOHC<br />

single-cylinder four-stroke<br />

CAPACITY: 450cc<br />

BORE & STROKE: 97x60.9mm<br />


FUELING: Mikuni fuel injection,<br />

44mm throttle body<br />


STARTING: Electric only<br />

GEARBOX: Five-speed<br />

CLUTCH: Wet multiplate, cable<br />

actuation<br />

Final drive Chain<br />

FRAME: Semi double cradle,<br />

aluminium<br />


Kayaba SSS dual chamber, travel<br />

310mm<br />

REAR SUSPENSION: Monoshock<br />

Kayaba, linkage, travel 318mm<br />

FRONT BRAKE: 270mm disc, twinpiston<br />

caliper<br />

REAR BRAKE: 245mm disc<br />

TYRES: 90/90-21 130/90-18<br />


SEAT HEIGHT: 955mm<br />

WHEELBASE: 1480mm<br />

FUEL CAPACITY: 7.9-litres<br />

PRICE: £7599 (UK) €8799 (EU)<br />

$13,299 (AUS) $9599 (US)<br />

CONTACT: www.yamaha-motor.eu<br />

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www.rustsports.com 71

testing admittedly – the best OEM<br />

suspension we’ve ever tested, and this<br />

bike wasn’t even fully run-in. So good<br />

you just stopped looking at the bumps,<br />

the rocks, the ruts, the suspension was<br />

dealing with it all single handed. When<br />

going through the whoops, where you<br />

might mistime and nosedive into the<br />

up-face of the next whoop… that was<br />

just not an issue, the forks absorbed<br />

the hits with not so much as a shock<br />

through the bars. You could just<br />

ride into everything. We didn’t even<br />

look at the clickers. For a rider who<br />

weighs close to 100kg in his gear (and<br />

admittedly isn’t that fast, real middleleague<br />

aging clubman) this was just<br />

perfection, although no doubt a tuner<br />

could improve them even more.<br />

Ahh yes, there’s that one small<br />

omission we’ve made. We’ve got to give<br />

credit for so much of this impressive<br />

performance to ‘the blue button’.<br />

You see Yamaha has included a twoenduro<br />

w<br />

be, but the WR450F shrugs it off and<br />

pulls you through anyway. Allied to this<br />

is the new lighter clutch, which despite<br />

being a cable actuation is actually<br />

remarkably light.<br />

And added to this – the good news<br />

keeps coming – the reduced bulk<br />

of the new WR450F means you’re<br />

not left physically struggling. It’s no<br />

longer skyscraper tall, barge-wide. It’s<br />

lower and narrower, so you feel more<br />

comfortable and more able to be the<br />

boss. The more we rode the WR450F<br />

the more we started carving the forest.<br />

It now turns in a very balanced way,<br />

there’s a sense of evenness front to<br />

back that was missing before, and yet it<br />

turns tight while still being super stable<br />

at speed, like a properly balanced bike<br />

should.<br />

By the way, it’s still loud for the<br />

rider given the air box is right under<br />

your chin booming away. It didn’t<br />

seem as loud as the WR250F’s air box<br />

curiously enough, but still earplugs are<br />

recommended. That loudness is for the<br />

rider mostly, away from the bike the<br />

noise is respectfully muted.<br />

Now for the cream, the icing, the<br />

coup de grace… Behold the Kayaba<br />

suspension. Which. Is. Simply. Sublime.<br />

Oh boy, those KYB technicians deserve<br />

a huge bonus, for this suspension setup<br />

is divinity itself. There’s subtlety<br />

and control of the highest order and it<br />

stands to elevate an already excellent<br />

package into something ethereal. Okay,<br />

maybe we’re getting too prosaic there,<br />

but this has to be – based on one day’s<br />

72<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />








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www.rustsports.com 73

ENDURO<br />

map option for when you’re riding. A<br />

standard map, and when you push the<br />

button on the left handlebar – and it<br />

lights up blue – a traction map. It’s that<br />

traction map that works so well in the<br />

woods. It tames the power, but it doesn’t<br />

take it away, the bike still revs out, still<br />

shifts like a good ‘un, but without the<br />

old fear factor. In standard map the<br />

WR450F is still so much tamer than ever<br />

before and we’d use this mode for say<br />

sand riding and big open fast stuff, but<br />

in Wales, 95% of the time (that 5% was<br />

just for scientific purposes – so let’s say<br />

100% of the time) we’d ride with the blue<br />

light on.<br />

Were there any negatives? Got to<br />

think… Did we mention the Metzeler<br />

Six Day enduro tyres fitted as standard?<br />

Nice touch. Yeah, that’s not a negative.<br />

Ahh yes, hot starting was a bit of an<br />

issue. Typically when we start our<br />

enduros these days the trick is to just<br />

press the starter, nothing else. But with<br />

the WR, curiously, it liked the smallest<br />

crack of the throttle to get it lit. Once<br />

you had it figured (or were told how)<br />

then it wasn’t a problem.<br />

And one more negative, quite a<br />

significant one. For Europe, the new<br />

WR doesn’t come EU homolgated. It<br />

is being sold, in essence, as an offroad<br />

competition bike. That could be<br />

a real issue where an enduro includes<br />

legal highways. In the UK we have an<br />

exemption that allows competition<br />

enduro bikes to be registered –<br />

something undertaken by the owner,<br />

not the manufacturer – so you can<br />

still register and ride the WR legally on<br />

the road, but in other countries more<br />

extreme action might need to be taken.<br />

Hopefully this won’t take the shine off<br />

the sales pitch.<br />

JUST WOW<br />

You know, what shines through is the<br />

thoroughness of Yamaha’s revisions.<br />

They’ve got experience in enduro that<br />

spans decades – DTs in the 1970s, ITs<br />

in the 1980s, the WR two-strokes in the<br />

1990s and since the 2000s the WR-Fs.<br />

Every now and again they go slightly<br />

off the boil, but when Yamaha bring<br />

their A-game, as they have here, then<br />

we’re blown away. There’s clearly been<br />

74<br />


2019 Yamaha WR450F<br />

attention given to rider feedback, as well<br />

as the attention to detail and the sheer<br />

quality that Yamaha has bestowed upon<br />

this WR450F.<br />

Simply to look at, this is one<br />

handsome bike. The bike is sleek. And<br />

the details speak of Yamaha’s Shifulike<br />

understanding of the sport. The<br />

airbox is no-nonsense. The sidestand<br />

is properly tucked away. The new skid<br />

plate is far more protective (offering<br />

the water pump a place to hide) but<br />

also fits so much better, so it’ll pack less<br />

mud. The headlamp unit is so much<br />

slimmer front-to-back, and so is now<br />

not offensive the way the old one was.<br />

That map switch – it operates on the fly,<br />

no need to hold a steady throttle or to<br />

stop, switch off etc, just hit it whenever<br />

you need.<br />

The new WR450F is lighter, smaller,<br />

lower, less violent, more accurate,<br />

more agile, more comfortable. More…<br />

just more, the way less is often more.<br />

Its still a 450, still one of the most<br />

powerful 450s, too – so lower-order<br />

European enduro riders might still<br />

want to approach with some caution<br />

– but everyone else, from desert racers<br />

in Australia and the US, to trail riders<br />

everywhere, and to European enduro<br />

riders of some standing, this is some<br />

bike – you really want to ride one.<br />

Just wow.<br />

www.rustsports.com 75


76 www.rustsports.com

HONDA CRF250RX<br />

HONDA CRF250RX<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> has a 2019 Honda CRF250RX on long-term test (oh yeah!). As replacement for the CRF250X<br />

it’s both long awaited and much anticipated. So how much is it race and how much trail?<br />

Words & Images: JB<br />

This Honda CRF250RX has<br />

about as much in common<br />

with its predecessor, the<br />

CRF250X, as the X had with<br />

the XR250 that went before it. Okay<br />

the frame looks similar, both are<br />

lateral beam type in aluminium, and<br />

the colour – yes, red – but after that,<br />

this is an all-new bike, with an allnew<br />

demeanour.<br />

It’s one helluva trade-up, in<br />

evolutionary terms, that takes us<br />

on a transition from a 28hp gentle<br />

trailie to a 45hp screaming banshee<br />

of a racer – in one giant leap. The<br />

RX is all about sharp race-winning<br />

potential; it has the capability to<br />

take on the best of European enduro<br />

tackle and quite possibly win. But<br />

before doing that, maybe we should<br />

figure if it’s the best from Japan, as<br />

we can’t overlook that other Oriental<br />

wunderkind, the WR250F.<br />

THE TECH<br />

How much we should go on about<br />

the tech is debatable, after all there’s<br />

Honda’s own website with all the<br />

data, so why copy all that info?<br />

What’s significant – we should cover<br />

that, though. Like the motor. It’s no<br />

longer a Uni-cam (kind of SOHC),<br />

now a twin-cam (DOHC) unit. It<br />

seems when it comes to extracting<br />


PART TWO<br />

WHAT<br />

WE DID…<br />

The Honda’s very first<br />

run was the Brechfa<br />

Rally, one super-chilly<br />

late winter weekend.<br />

Just 190 miles of fast<br />

trails over two days – a<br />

nice way to run-in the<br />

motor, maybe! After that<br />

we shot over to Yamaha<br />

Off-Road Experience<br />

in even-deeper Wales<br />

to check out its<br />

performance against a<br />

class benchmark – the<br />

Yamaha WR250F. As<br />

a way to get to know<br />

the little red rooster we<br />

figured a good eight<br />

hours in the saddle<br />

might do it.<br />

maximum go from a small fourstroke<br />

unit this is the way to go, not<br />

to mention the fitting of Titanium<br />

valves with oval springs and twin<br />

exhaust ports (and so twin exhausts).<br />

This motor debuted in the 2018<br />

season in Honda‘s CRF250R<br />

motocrosser, it got updated for the<br />

2019 season (improved, with 9%<br />

more top end honk) and it’s this<br />

very engine that sits in the RX, with<br />

very few modifications. The motor,<br />

physically, seems all but identical,<br />

it’s the electronics package that’s<br />

changed, having been given new<br />

(‘softer’) ignition and fuelling maps to<br />

suit off-road application. Otherwise,<br />

the top end performance and just<br />

about everything is identical to the<br />

CRF250R. So for an off-roader it’s one<br />

potent package.<br />

Likewise Honda has done the<br />

minimum to adjust the chassis to<br />

off-road. There’s an 18” rear wheel, a<br />

larger 8.5-litre tank and a sidestand<br />

while the suspension has been given<br />

off-road settings, including a lighter<br />

spring rate in the forks. It is then<br />

barely an off-roader and certainly a<br />

long way from a conventional enduro<br />

bike – don’t be fooled by the lighting<br />

kit so neatly applied by Honda UK,<br />

this thing is no trail bike – to use the<br />

cliché, it’s weapons-grade.<br />

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www.rustsports.com<br />



w<br />

THE RIDE<br />

It is, though, a Honda – and it’s rare<br />

that Honda make downright evil bikes<br />

(although by heck they can make potent<br />

ones, like the legendary CR250). And<br />

with this CRF250RX, for all the potency<br />

it maintains a sense of civility. There’s<br />

a lot of power to discover, but the long<br />

and linear rev of this engine means it’s<br />

delivered without surprises, you dial in<br />

only as much or as little as you want.<br />

The pull from the low end isn’t<br />

obviously strong but it is consistent, it<br />

doesn’t bog, instead it digs deep and<br />

delivers. If it’s not coming fast enough<br />

then dip the clutch and get the revs<br />

up, then it truly leaps forward. Mid-totop<br />

brings only more creamy-linear<br />

delivery. At first, while the engine<br />

was tight, it all felt like it was too little,<br />

and too short. Fifth gear is found<br />

early as the gearing is close ratio and<br />

short. But when the engine loosened<br />

up and the full range of the rev was<br />

discovered (14,400rpm is a long-long<br />

way out) you find there’s a heap more<br />

on tap. Sometimes you think you’re<br />

fully tapped out only to find another<br />

3mm of throttle cable and with that the<br />

motor winds up another octave! It is<br />

some engine, for sure, and wrung out<br />

it makes sweet music, at least for those<br />

that like high-pitched screaming fourstrokes.<br />

Handling is also so very Honda and<br />

not a little unlike the CRF250X. It rides<br />

stable and kind of low feeling. Maxed<br />

out on fire roads it was impressively<br />

stable – not a worry – but it was equally<br />

happy flicking through the tight stuff.<br />

Perhaps not quite as sharp turning as<br />

a KTM, but there’s not that much bulk<br />

to this bike so quick steering in this<br />

category is all relative – you’re not really<br />

wanting for more turn-in, that is for<br />

sure. The low-riding feeling reminded<br />

me of how the old CRF250X used to feel<br />

great on a grass test, it kind of hoovered<br />

along and you felt a lot of confidence<br />

and a lot of feedback from the tyres; the<br />

RX is similar, a bike you can press into a<br />

turn with your outside thigh and knee<br />

78<br />


HONDA CRF250RX<br />

and gently push it deeper, tighter into<br />

the turn.<br />

The suspension is very good. It<br />

bedded in quickly and with no time<br />

spent on the clickers – just riding<br />

exactly as it came out of the box – it<br />

felt pretty damn good, smooth and<br />

competent. Perhaps it could be a little<br />

more supple on the small choppy<br />

roots, but equally with some time and<br />

attention applied to the adjusters that<br />

could come in any case. But out of the<br />

box, it felt good, real good.<br />

Ergonomics are surprisingly<br />

comfortable for a 6’0” rider. It’s probably<br />

more rangy than you first think, and<br />

there’s no feeling of being scrunched<br />

up or pushed too far over the bars.<br />

Talking of the bars – Renthal Fat Bars<br />

(a nice fitting) – these feel low but<br />

suitably so, so you’re more connected to<br />

what’s going on. Seat-footpeg-handlebar<br />

spacing all felt good, too. Very natural –<br />

so very Honda.<br />

It’s kind of odd. The RX is almost<br />

twice as powerful as the old X, yet it’s<br />

no mad axe, it retains the old bike’s<br />

accessibility and ease of use. It lacks<br />

the six-speed wide-ratio gearbox,<br />

the hydraulic clutch and a few of the<br />

trimmings we expect from an enduro<br />

(although, as said, Honda UK have<br />

plugged most of the gap there) – and is<br />

clearly meant to be a cross-over machine<br />

for motocross and cross-country type<br />

events – but enduro is easily within its<br />

capabilities. Put the engine mapping<br />

into the smooth option (there are three:<br />

smooth, standard and aggressive) and the<br />

X-type nature is all the more apparent,<br />

the RX really can be very peaceable, and a<br />

real traction-master.<br />

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www.rustsports.com 79


w<br />


So, we pitched the RX against a new<br />

2019 Yamaha WR250F. The WR got a<br />

few updates in 2018, including boosted<br />

bottom-to-mid thanks to a new<br />

cylinder head design with reshaped<br />

ports and a shortened intake funnel,<br />

and a new frame, essentially that of the<br />

2018 YZ250F which features a wider<br />

central beam.<br />

It still largely feels like the old WR250F,<br />

but the new motor character is obvious,<br />

it punches a lot harder off the bottom.<br />

And while the chassis has been updated<br />

the general responses are largely the<br />

same. Compared to the Honda, the<br />

Yamaha feel taller, and in tight stuff,<br />

tippier!<br />

Here at <strong>RUST</strong> we had a 2015 WR250F<br />

for about three seasons and grew to<br />

love that bike. Most notably it came<br />

with a full Akrapovic titanium exhaust,<br />

and just as at the original launch, we<br />

preferred the way the WR ran on that<br />

pipe – the Akra seems to smooth out<br />

the motor, it runs sweeter bottom to top<br />

(and sounds better too – without being<br />

that much louder). Our test Yamaha<br />

on this occasion had the stock pipe<br />

fitted and this, explained Dylan Jones<br />

of the Yamaha Off-Road Experience,<br />

accentuates the new bottom end torque<br />

hit and so at YORE they too prefer the<br />

power delivery of the WR with the Akra.<br />

w<br />


Even though this isn’t our bike, we couldn’t<br />

bring ourselves to trashing the OEM<br />

plastics. So opted to put these carefully<br />

away (to refit on that imaginary resale)<br />

and fit an Acerbis full replica plastics kit,<br />

to which we added a set of X-Grip frame<br />

protectors and X-Ultimate hand guards (all<br />

of this stuff is great quality and fitting is<br />

a doddle). The standard sump plate looks<br />

pretty good so we’ve left this for now.<br />

Our planned custom graphics weren’t<br />

available in time for this test (as you can<br />

see), but will come from LR Designs ready<br />

for the next outing. Likewise, we rode on<br />

OEM Dunlop AT81 tyres – which are a<br />

cross-country off-road spec tyre –but will<br />

be changing to European competition<br />

homologated (as required by ACU rules)<br />

Metzeler Six Days for regular enduro<br />

riding.<br />

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HONDA CRF250RX<br />

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w<br />

Riding around a short course in the<br />

woods, swapping between the Honda<br />

and Yamaha, here’s what we found:<br />

1. The Yamaha’s front end felt more<br />

planted – this could be a tyre thing<br />

(Honda: Dunlop, Yamaha: Metzeler).<br />

2. The Honda’s linear power delivery<br />

made pulling up a slippery uphill<br />

switchback a lot easier than on the<br />

Yamaha where the thumping bottom<br />

end was sort of all or nothing – you<br />

needed to be on top of things with<br />

the Yamaha.<br />

82<br />


HONDA CRF250RX<br />

3. The Yamaha’s six gears make no<br />

difference in the tight stuff, but once<br />

on open trails it gives the blue bike<br />

the longer legs with less rev.<br />

4. The Honda feels to ride lowish, the<br />

Yamaha taller.<br />

5. The Honda’s 8.5-litre tank is wider<br />

than the Yamaha’s 7.5-litre unit, so<br />

it’s that much broader across the<br />

front. For European short-lap enduros<br />

we could probably have got away<br />

with the motocross tank and had an<br />

altogether slimmer set-up. It’s not a<br />

big deal, but you’ll notice it.<br />

6. Yes, the Yamaha which we’ve often<br />

typified as a screamer, feels like<br />

grunter in its current tune when<br />

matched with the Honda.<br />

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HONDA CRF250RX<br />

w<br />

One thing was for certain; the Honda<br />

was in for the fight. While still having<br />

a five-speed gearbox and still being<br />

not much more than a lightly modified<br />

motocrosser it was able to match the<br />

enduro-specific Yamaha in a woods<br />

environment. Dylan says the Yamaha<br />

actually better suits a more experienced<br />

clubman rider, rather than an absolute<br />

beginner as it’s quite a hi-po machine<br />

and certainly in the slippery winter<br />

conditions we rode in, the Yamaha<br />

took a little more input than the Honda<br />

to navigate its way around the tracks.<br />

That’s not to say the Honda is so much<br />

easier to ride, or better, but the two are<br />

very different.<br />

In what was quite a short test we<br />

couldn’t establish a clear winner, but we<br />

could tell that the Honda is right on the<br />

money and every inch a match for the<br />

Yamaha, which pretty much makes it a<br />

match for anything in the class.<br />

SO, FOR NOW<br />

For now we’re super-happy with the<br />

Honda. It’s that sweet mix of being<br />

real easy to ride – as 250cc four-stroke<br />

enduros should be – and actually very<br />

competitive, too. It’s suits this older,<br />

slower clubman rider, but it stands to<br />

make him faster and more competitive<br />

too, as it asks little and delivers big. We<br />

can’t wait to try it in a local enduro.<br />

84<br />









pump it<br />

x-seat air<br />

@AcerbisMotorsport<br />

@acerbismotorsport<br />

www.acerbis.com<br />

ACERBIS ITALIA S.P.A Via Serio 37 - Albino (Bg) - Italy phone +39 035 773 577 infomoto@acerbis.it

adventure<br />



You’d have thought after nearly freezing in the 2018 Brechfa Rally – and<br />

positively dying at the controls of the Yamaha Ténéré 660 – we’d have steered<br />

clear of the 2019 event. Not so, we went back for more, only with a much lighter<br />

bike! It was still brutally cold and for two-thirds of the event it rained, but you<br />

know, it’s still so much fun and the people are so welcoming, it’s hard to think of<br />

a better thing to do on a winter’s weekend (we clearly have limited imagination)…<br />

Words & Images: JB<br />

w<br />

When the paddock looks like this<br />

you need a little self-motivation<br />

to get out there and do it. That or<br />

a Honda CRF250RX, which had<br />

JB enjoying every minute!<br />

86<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

www.rustsports.com 87

adventure<br />

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1<br />

2<br />

88<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

1 2 3<br />

Waiting for the start, there’s<br />

no point standing in the<br />

wind and the cold, so most<br />

crowded into the old cow<br />

barn for some shelter.<br />

It looks fairly empty in this<br />

shot, but at the end of each lap<br />

the barn and the burger/tea<br />

trailer kept body temperatures<br />

up and spirits high while<br />

riders waited for their minute<br />

Waiting for the start the sun<br />

came out – just to fool a<br />

few. Full waterproofs were<br />

the call! Note the humble<br />

environment, if you’re after<br />

glamour this isn’t for you…<br />

3<br />

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adventure<br />

w<br />

Spare a thought for the guys<br />

who organize these events,<br />

in this case all volunteers.<br />

So while three nights<br />

prepping the Honda felt like a fair<br />

effort that’s nothing compared<br />

to the months of preparations<br />

the Dyfed Dirt Bike Club put<br />

into the event. Dylan Williams<br />

(Clerk of the Course) explained<br />

the first permission requests are<br />

made a full six months before<br />

the event. Route plotting starts<br />

about a month out, a fortnight<br />

out the arrowing begins, the<br />

weekend before the special test<br />

gets taped and arrowed, then the<br />

Friday before the Saturday start<br />

there’s the last run around to<br />

ensure the course is all in place.<br />

That involves a core working<br />

crew of 20 but over the weekend<br />

of the rally the team swells.<br />

There are 12 riding marshals, 10<br />

static marshals, seven people<br />

controlling the special test then<br />

the team who are manning the<br />

check as riders start and finish<br />

each lap. So three nights fiddling<br />

with the CRF – that’s nothing…<br />

4<br />

4<br />

Rally has evolved into<br />

something of an enduro-lite<br />

type competition. Where<br />

adventure bikes and trail<br />

bikes used to roam it’s now<br />

become a game for enduros.<br />

90<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

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adventure<br />

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92<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

5<br />

6<br />

5 6<br />

The Dyfed club put together a<br />

35 miles lap, including an eightminute<br />

special test, all repeated<br />

three times on each day. A lot of<br />

it was through managed forest.<br />

When the sun shone briefly it<br />

was quite pretty!<br />

To give the enduro bikes a bit<br />

more challenge there were greenarrowed<br />

(optional) enduro loops<br />

where traditional deep Welsh ruts<br />

were to be found in abundance.<br />

This bit is an easy section.<br />

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adventure<br />

w<br />

7 7<br />

Logging roads make up part of<br />

the course. The temptation would<br />

be to ride these flat out. But we<br />

didn’t, no. Of course not...<br />

Are amateur motorcycle<br />

clubs still valid in these<br />

days of professionally run<br />

events? On the basis of the<br />

Dyfed Dirt Bike Club they are, for<br />

the good they put back, as Dylan<br />

Williams explained:<br />

“As a club we’re not in it to<br />

make money, we donate all our<br />

profits to charitable causes. Since<br />

our inception we’ve raised over<br />

£40,000, and £6000 of that last<br />

year went to a children’s ward at<br />

a local hospital. It’s about giving<br />

back to our community and<br />

putting dirt biking in people’s<br />

good books.”<br />

It goes further than that, too.<br />

Ten of the static marshals at<br />

the Brechfa came from the<br />

local Llangrannog Rowing Club<br />

– there’s an exchange here, the<br />

rowers support the bikers at the<br />

Brechfa while the Dyfed DBC<br />

guys support (and sponsor) the<br />

rowers in their annual Celtic<br />

Challenge rowing race across<br />

the Irish Sea. Great community<br />

action.<br />

94<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

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adventure<br />

w<br />

8 9 10<br />

There really isn’t anything<br />

to get you into too much<br />

trouble with rally but as<br />

with all off-road you have<br />

to expect a little groveling<br />

from time to time.<br />

As the event includes the use of<br />

public roads and public space the<br />

local Police have to be notified<br />

and they get involved – in a<br />

good way, you kind of get the<br />

impression this is one of their<br />

more enjoyable jobs, eh?<br />

If the rain doesn’t<br />

get you wet, then the<br />

water splashes will.<br />

8<br />

96<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

9<br />

10<br />

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adventure<br />

11<br />

w<br />

11<br />

Sometime you just chill<br />

out – after all, the lap is<br />

loose on time so you can<br />

opt take your time and<br />

check out the countryside.<br />

12<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> had more van that<br />

was really needed, but it<br />

at least offered plenty of<br />

space for hanging/drying<br />

all the kit.<br />

12<br />

98<br />


The Brechfa Rally<br />

FANCY A GO?<br />

The All Terrain Rally Challenge is a<br />

five round series, Brechfa being the<br />

opener. Remaining dates for 2019<br />

are:<br />

July 6-7: Ryedale Rally (Yorkshire)<br />

August 17-18: Beacons Rally (Wales)<br />

September 21-22 Circuit of Mann<br />

(Isle of Man)<br />

October (dates TBC): Hafren Rally<br />

(Wales)<br />

To find more information<br />

including classes, rules etc go to<br />

www.rallymoto.co.uk<br />



100<br />






Our long term Husqvarna FE350 hasn’t stood still, but race developments have<br />

stalled while Warren has been establishing a permanent base in Portugal. And<br />

with 2019 season plans modified the FE350 is to get a new stablemate…<br />

Words: Warren M.<br />

The evolution of our Husqvarna FE350<br />

and my constant tinkering with it has<br />

me in love. Perhaps it also has to do<br />

with the fact that I am riding more<br />

than I have in years and that <strong>RUST</strong> has a new<br />

garage / workshop in Portugal that is so much<br />

more pleasant a place to spend time in than its<br />

functional but basic predecessor.<br />

While JB’s garage upgrade is coming to an<br />

end (translation: already jammed full of the<br />

family’s outdoor detritus – JB), mine is just<br />

beginning. I’m hoping to finish the work by<br />

the end of the summer and to keep heading<br />

out each week riding. My plans for the Bajas<br />

championship here in Portugal seems to be<br />

playing second fiddle to life demands. I have<br />

been pretty ill for the past two months with a w<br />

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w<br />

lingering chest and sinus infection; my<br />

son’s preparing for his 18th birthday and<br />

A-level exams; we’re in the middle of<br />

house renovations, and a family health<br />

emergency back in Aussie had Mrs M.<br />

on a plane same day and gone for a<br />

few weeks, leaving the lads to fend for<br />

ourselves.<br />

It looks like I might just make the<br />

mid-season round of the Bajas at the<br />

end of May and only because it’s close<br />

to my home here. There’ll be a big break<br />

in the calendar over the summer (it’s<br />

just too hot to be racing) before it kicks<br />

off again in September with the season<br />

coming to a climax at the Portelegré<br />

500 at the end of October – I won’t be<br />

missing that one!<br />

My son will be at Uni by then, the<br />

renovations should be complete and<br />

hopefully life will return to being a more<br />

mundane and uneventful affair. Great<br />

for getting out and riding.<br />

After complaining I was wearing out<br />

the FE350 by riding so many hours, JB<br />

and I have been knocking around the<br />

idea of me possibly making the 2020<br />

season a two-bike affair – one race bike<br />

and one practice bike – and me doing<br />

the Baja championship properly. I liked<br />

102<br />



the idea and so I placed an order for<br />

a new 2020 FE350 this past week. I’m<br />

loving the current 2017-19 bike so much<br />

that I did not want to replace it with two<br />

new 2020 bikes sight unseen. I know<br />

there are a few changes due on the 2020<br />

bike but I’m going to wait and see what<br />

I think of them before I make a further<br />

decision on the second bike.<br />

The take away point is that I am<br />

sticking with the FE350 as my primary<br />

choice of enduro machine. The motor<br />

is wonderful and as I have tinkered with<br />

it I have found a near perfect setup for<br />

me. It’s only taken a few years to find<br />

the right bike and then find the right<br />

set-up, but I couldn’t be happier. Riding<br />

is all about confidence and I am riding<br />

with more confidence now than I have<br />

since I was in my teens and it’s mainly<br />

down to the bike being so predictable,<br />

responsive and smooth.<br />

In my feature ‘In search of the perfect<br />

setup’ – set for <strong>RUST</strong> #43 – I provide<br />

some insights into my approach to<br />

setting up a race bike and what works<br />

for me and perhaps what may work for<br />

you.<br />

www.rustsports.com 103


104 www.rustsports.com


FAST AND<br />


Fitness above 40<br />

Our Warren is a fitness nut. Loves a gym, been going for years.<br />

So based on his progress specifically over the last four years with<br />

<strong>RUST</strong>, going between gym, track (and hospital!) he’s putting<br />

down in a series of articles his fitness tips for the over forties<br />

Words: Warren Images: JB<br />


As the first article in this series I wanted<br />

to address my fundamental approach to<br />

fitness and nutrition in an overview, rather<br />

than jumping in to providing you with<br />

programs and menus first without any context.<br />

I have addressed some key points for you to<br />

consider for yourself and think about. What is it that<br />

you are trying to achieve? Having a clear mind and<br />

understanding of what you want to get out of training<br />

is a key point before you begin. Set realistic goals that<br />

you can click off like laps, this will get you comfortable<br />

with your new surroundings and routine. It will build<br />

consistency and confidence that will improve both<br />

your mental and physical agility on the bike and<br />

positively impact on your riding capability.<br />

w<br />

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w<br />


Things change, for us old-timers<br />

they have already changed and will<br />

continue to do so at an alarming rate<br />

and seemingly at a faster pace as you<br />

get older. Weight is more difficult to<br />

keep off and finding motivation can<br />

sometimes be a challenge. And in<br />

general – things hurt!<br />

It is also important to recognise that<br />

the brain lies! You can’t do what you<br />

used to do in the gym, you need to<br />

be smarter than that. If you try and<br />

maintain the same regime you did<br />

in your twenties you will never make<br />

consistent fitness work for you. The<br />

result will be an injury or just getting<br />

sick and tired of being sore all the time.<br />

Take your time and build up to where<br />

you want to be – it’s more rewarding<br />

to be able to stick with a program<br />

that provides you a good balance of<br />

sustainable fitness. There is no greater<br />

force to being able to improve your<br />

riding – while making your life in<br />

general more functional and rewarding<br />

– than a balanced health program.<br />

Having the right mindset is crucial<br />

to a successful lifestyle and age is just<br />

a number. I count myself lucky, I’ve<br />

never been massively overweight or<br />

lacked motivation but I have struggled<br />

with consistency, I think we all do.<br />

It is important that you set a goal for<br />

yourself, not one for anyone else, or<br />

what you feel you should be able to<br />

achieve, just simply one that you CAN<br />

achieve. Each small win should leave<br />

you feeling satisfied that you have<br />

accomplished the task you have set<br />

yourself.<br />


Over the past 40 years or so, I have tried<br />

so many training regimes, new fads,<br />

nutrition variations, and in the end I<br />

discovered that I had to first recognise<br />

why I could not stick with them. I had<br />

to know what was holding me back<br />

and what my weaknesses were and<br />

try to establish my own mindset when<br />

it came to exercise. I had to forgive<br />

myself when I failed to maintain my<br />

consistency and establish a pathway to<br />

being able to adjust my lifestyle so that<br />

I managed more frequently to find the<br />

motivation I needed to make the effort<br />

to stay fit.<br />

106<br />




Do you dream of the Dakar? Do you<br />

want to be able to finish a two-hour<br />

Hare & Hounds at a consistent pace<br />

in the expert or clubman class? Or do<br />

you want just enough oomph to get<br />

out there and enjoy a good day’s trail<br />

ride with your buddies on a Sunday<br />

morning and a good beer afterwards?<br />

Whatever your goal, that’s okay.<br />

I am not a qualified trainer or fitness<br />

coach and my intent in sharing training<br />

and nutrition tips with you over this<br />

series of articles and videos is merely<br />

an insight from someone who has<br />

loved riding for over 40 years and has<br />

gained a little insight into what can<br />

make a transformative difference in<br />

your enjoyment of riding as well as<br />

your ability on the bike. Not to mention<br />

that it makes riding safer. Mental agility<br />

when you’re tired helps you make better<br />

decisions in dangerous situations.<br />


For me, I have come to recognise and<br />

embrace my personality on and off the<br />

bike and use this knowledge to develop<br />

a program that works for me.<br />

I am highly competitive and keen to<br />

make sure I am able to ride at the best<br />

pace I can for as many years as I can.<br />

I’m a risk taker and I like to live life to<br />

the limit, and my approach to training<br />

is no different. I have had the benefit of<br />

many personal trainers over the years, a<br />

few nutritionists and have experienced<br />

the outcomes of their directed<br />

approaches. I’ve taken those elements<br />

that have worked for me and discarded<br />

those that I felt were not helpful and<br />

have now come up with a personal<br />

program and training methodology<br />

that is begged, borrowed and stolen<br />

to sculpt a specific program for me as<br />

an off-road rider/racer. I hope you will<br />

find something of use to you, even if it’s<br />

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w<br />

only to do as I have done and borrow<br />

snippets from what I am going to be<br />

sharing with you.<br />


1. Take small steps – it makes it easy to<br />

maintain motivation.<br />

2. Spend some time on getting to know<br />

yourself. Knowing what to expect<br />

from your mind is like taking a track<br />

walk. If you know what’s coming you<br />

can prepare for it.<br />


My training program is a pretty simple<br />

hybrid that combines R.U.S.T. (Random<br />

Unilateral Strength Training), functional<br />

training, a few cross-fit principles,<br />

cycling and riding.<br />

I will be sharing programs and<br />

nutrition tips starting in the next issue<br />

and online at www.rustsports.com<br />


I recognise that each of us is vastly<br />

different and what may be reasonable<br />

for one person might be a bridge too<br />

far for another. My personal affliction<br />

is that I live with a devil on one<br />

shoulder and while I’m able to be pretty<br />

disciplined most of the time I have an<br />

innate yearning to let the dogs loose<br />

from time to time. I’ve come to accept<br />

that this is part of who I am and in so<br />

doing I have some to realise that a good<br />

balanced life (in my case going from<br />

one extreme to another) is best managed<br />

by keeping the extremes less severe.<br />

Now I’m able to enjoy life by having the<br />

occasional party and riding the way I<br />

want to with the fitness I need.<br />

Hopefully my nutrition tips will help<br />

you rationalise a gradual change to<br />

getting the best out of the food you eat<br />

and will prove helpful in finding what<br />

works for you.<br />


Well, that’s it for an introduction. Next<br />

time we’ll get properly into designing<br />

your own personal fitness programme<br />


Given the nanny states we live in I would like to advise you<br />

that you should ignore everything I write or say. You should<br />

not watch any of the videos and for your own safety please<br />

do not follow any of my comments on nutrition. In fact,<br />

please be careful that you don’t strain yourself lifting any of<br />

the devices you may need to. Seriously… if you are in any<br />

doubt about your state of health please consult a health<br />

professional, take out insurance and always train with a<br />

health and safety officer present. I take no responsibility<br />

whatsoever for anything I say or do and for any of you that<br />

decide to follow my ramblings you do so at your own risk.<br />

108<br />




Why isn’t Marv happy? Could be because he lost the<br />

2019 AMA SX title. But it’s not that. It’s because Marv<br />

sees, knows, all. And he knows you haven’t subscribed<br />

to <strong>RUST</strong> yet. And in our moto-universe that’s a badbad<br />

thing. It show’s your ignorance, your lack of care.<br />

So make Marv happy, get educated and find your own<br />

happiness (maybe even love) in one simple action – by<br />

hitting the SUBSCRIBE button.<br />

The subscription is FREE and it takes just seconds to<br />

sign up – we ask only for your email. That’s it! It’s totally<br />

free, guaranteed no spam, no junk, no strings – just a<br />

friendly email from us whenever you need to be alerted<br />

to a new issue. You do that and maybe – maybe – Marv<br />

won’t put a hit on you.<br />

It’s the smallest act of faith and support and it helps<br />

secure this <strong>magazine</strong>’s future. So please do it. And why<br />

not right now? Hit the link below!<br />



Stuff<br />


Contact: US/RoW: www.tcxboots.com UK: www.nevis.uk.com<br />

RRP: UK: £399<br />

First of all these are a very modern and<br />

beautiful looking boot, they look great.<br />

You may be expecting something<br />

special given the Michelin name, but I<br />

suspect this is much more marketing than<br />

anything else and in my opinion it doesn’t<br />

bring anything significant to the boot.<br />

Now Warren and JB had me wear these<br />

boots as being a trail tour guide I get to ride<br />

long hours and big distances, so I’m a good<br />

tester for products such as these. And so far<br />

I’ve ridden in these boots for around 1500<br />

kilometres.<br />

My first impression was that the Evo Comp<br />

2s were really comfortable and easy to adjust<br />

to your foot and to fit with knee guards –<br />

especially given that nowadays knee guards<br />

have been getting so much bigger, always a<br />

concern with the boots. The straps are good<br />

and easy to tighten and when you’re in and<br />

out of boots every day this is definitely a big<br />

plus.<br />

Although these boots aren’t made for<br />

walking (opposite to the song!) they are<br />

comfortable and were sweet even on those<br />

first days, so no blisters, no calluses! Like<br />

many a technical boot, they are a bit noisy<br />

when you walk due to the double flex control<br />

on the back. On the inside the boots are also<br />

great, very modern with very good finishes.<br />

They look like a sportswear shoe.<br />

The performance has been very good, I like<br />

the high level of protection they offer as well<br />

as the comfort – no small praise given my last<br />

boots, a pair of Gaerne SG12s, are a hard act to<br />

follow. There is the odd issue though. On the<br />

area of the instep I find these boots are bulky<br />

and on the 500EXC I use for the tours I had to<br />

adjust my gearshift and brake levers. As well,<br />

I definitely felt that in the area of the instep<br />

they were not quite grippy enough. It seems<br />

to me that they should have built that patch<br />

in another material or at least with some relief<br />

so that in the area of contact with the shift<br />

lever there exists more grip.<br />

Back to the positives – the boots have<br />

been very water resistant. Running through<br />

puddles of water and on rainy days the boots<br />

have kept my feet dry, which is a very positive<br />

and important aspect given long riding<br />

days. And after 1500km you can see the only<br />

obvious wear has been some abrasion on the<br />

left sole.<br />

In all, these are a good looking, comfortable<br />

boot that while not claimed to be waterproof<br />

have so far not let water in. You may have to<br />

make some adjustments to match your shift<br />

and brake lever but the upside is that you can<br />

easily wear these boots for 12 hours without<br />

any problem or desire for taking them off.<br />

This is as you may imagine is very important<br />

to me! And finally, given the extended test so<br />

far, I’m impressed they still look like new!<br />

Pedro Matos<br />

110<br />


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Stuff<br />


Contact: www.acerbis.it<br />

RRP: EU: €189.99<br />

More class than arse! Buying and fitting an Acerbis X-seat (comfort/soft) is<br />

definitely not a bum steer. This is the only seat that I have used that over<br />

three days riding or more has left me feeling human rather than sporting<br />

a severe case of monkey butt – especially in the wet!<br />

The comfort seat is easy to fit, has loads of grip, and is waterproof so does not<br />

take on water like the OEM ones do. The X-Seat is unique in that it uses internal<br />

expanded foam that is moulded in a one-piece shape (no base, no staples, no vinyl<br />

cover and no upholstery foam) so it keeps the bike light in wet conditions. More<br />

importantly it’s comfortable, it has raised ridges that align under each bone in<br />

your bum cheeks and creates an airflow channel down the middle of the seat to<br />

keep the ventilation at optimal levels – and did I say that it keeps the seat dry? That<br />

translates into a dry and happy rear end. All of these features combine to make it a<br />

superb investment in personal comfort.<br />

I found the shape of the seat to be slightly flatter than the stock seat (I liked it) but<br />

it felt narrower so bigger bottoms may not get on as well with this seat a skinnier<br />

one would. The grip was better than OEM but not as harsh as a gripper seat. It<br />

won’t be pulling down your trousers but I felt it aided in my transitions over the<br />

seat during a race. It also felt like the seat would be less prone to wear and tear from<br />

knee braces, which can be brutal on stock seat covers.<br />

The downside is the price – yes it’s pricey, but if you want hours of comfort then<br />

perhaps it’s worth it to you, for me it’s definitely worth the investment.<br />

Warren M.<br />

112<br />


www.rustsports.com 113

Long Termer<br />

SUZUKI<br />



V-STROM 650XT<br />

We needed an event that would prove the worth of the Suzuiki<br />

V-Strom 650XT. We found it in the Kielder 500. In all some 1100<br />

miles in four days on road and track in rain and shine. Easy….<br />

Words: JB Images: JB & Adventure Spec<br />

Time is the enemy these days. It runs by<br />

way too fast; we have too much to do<br />

in too little time. And so it unravels our<br />

best laid plans. So it is with the Suzuki<br />

V-Strom 650XT long termer. Plan was<br />

for it to ride the adventure class at the Rallye du<br />

Maroc, but then the class got cancelled, and with it<br />

being the end of the 2018 season there was precious<br />

little else to point it at before the year rounded out.<br />

Fortunately Suzuki hasn’t pressed for its return. So<br />

as the new year thawed, or nearly thawed, we at last<br />

found a challenge worthy of its capabilities.<br />

The Kielder 500, at the end of March, was the<br />

first of a trio of competitions that come under the<br />

banner of The Adventure Spec Challenge as run<br />

by Rally Moto UK. The 2019 series brings three<br />

weekends of rally road book competition to the<br />

UK adventure bike fraternity. No light enduro<br />

bikes are allowed, this is about true adventure<br />

bikes riding for two days in the wilder parts of the<br />

UK. Kielder was the first, up there on the Scottish<br />

borders, next comes the Wales 500 and the IoM w<br />

114<br />


Suzuki V-Strom 650XT<br />

www.rustsports.com 115

Long Termer<br />

w<br />

500 on the majestic Mona’s Isle is the<br />

finale, in September. The 500 bit refers<br />

to the approximate distance of each<br />

event, being about 500km. These are<br />

no speed events; the competition is<br />

measured on accuracy of navigation<br />

(each competitor is GPS tracked), while<br />

the terrain is not extreme either, being<br />

designed to be ridden by adventure<br />

bikes on road tyres (predominantly<br />

being gravel tracks).<br />

You can see the V-Strom XT is a<br />

perfect fit. And so the <strong>RUST</strong> entry went<br />

in for the first round, the Kielder 500,<br />

pretty sharpish (or pretty late if you’re<br />

Robert Hughes the organiser, but early<br />

by our standards…). The fact was it<br />

wouldn’t just be a 500 for the V-Strom,<br />

as with riding up to the venue and back<br />

the total distance wouldn’t be 500km,<br />

instead 1100 miles (nearly 1800km).<br />


This being an adventure event we<br />

took an adventure strategy. No van,<br />

no trailer, no hotels – just bike, rider<br />

and some canvas. The Suzuki was as<br />

good as ready to go. The modifications<br />

I’d made in 2018, using parts from SW<br />

Motech and R&G, together with a set<br />

of Metzeler Karoo Streets, meant all I<br />

needed was to load it up with my Giant<br />

Loop Coyote Roll Top Saddlebags, a<br />

Touratech camera/tank bag, and my<br />

latest addition, a Cool Covers seat<br />

cover to help with the long hours in<br />

the saddle. Long time <strong>RUST</strong> buddy July<br />

Behl came along too, for laughs and<br />

company, resting up his BMW RnineT<br />

Scrambler in favour of his KTM 1190<br />

Adventure R.<br />

The 400 miles trip from Kent to<br />

Northumberland was despatched<br />

116<br />


Suzuki V-Strom 650XT<br />

in stages. 4:30am start from our<br />

respective residences to a 5:30<br />

rendezvous and coffee at the Thurrock<br />

services on the M25. Then a motor<br />

on up north to Peterborough for an<br />

8:00am breakfast at an American diner.<br />

Then more highway/motorway work<br />

up to Harrogate, and a spur off into the<br />

Yorkshire Dales for a seriously scenic<br />

back roads final leg up to Kielder.<br />

The Suzuki didn’t even blink. July<br />

likes a brisk pace on his KTM, so the<br />

V-Strom was set at 85mph all the<br />

way up to Harrogate. Despite being<br />

a mere 650 this was no bother to<br />

the V-Strom, although it dented the<br />

fuel consumption figures a fair bit,<br />

showing about 57mpg for the journey.<br />

The engine on the V-Strom is sublime<br />

in being so smooth; it hoovers up<br />

highways as easily as any 1200, doesn’t<br />

feel at all breathless, and leaves the<br />

rider fairly relaxed. Got to say the Cool<br />

Cover helped here too, and I didn’t<br />

register any butt ache.<br />

In the Yorkshire Dales, sometimes<br />

working along on single-car width<br />

roads, again the V-Strom was just<br />

fine. There’s a fair deal of torque as<br />

well as rev to this motor and it can<br />

deal with anything the road throws<br />

at it and there’s just the minimum of<br />

gearbox stirring. The handling on the<br />

Karoo Streets was of course just fine,<br />

as good as any road tyre, given the<br />

modest block height. As a platform for<br />

sightseeing it was as good as riding an<br />

automatic.<br />


Day One didn’t go quite to plan.<br />

Starting way into the second half of the<br />

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Long Termer<br />

w<br />

entry and stopping for photos, as ever,<br />

pushed us to the tail end of the pack.<br />

Meanwhile some earlier rain had left<br />

those tracks that were running over<br />

clay, soil or grass a little tricky for the<br />

low-profile Karoo Streets. It didn’t pay<br />

to push my luck and I rode at a near<br />

crawl through these sections. Finding<br />

a guy with a horizontal Triumph Tiger<br />

1200 (also on road tyres) suggested<br />

this was a prudent MO. There were<br />

also steep off-cambers on many of the<br />

trails, falling away into deep ditches,<br />

so pushing your luck could lead to<br />

serious consequences, so again riding<br />

tricky sections trials-style made good<br />

sense.<br />

When rain came in the afternoon<br />

we hit calamity as my iPhone (which<br />

I was using as an ICO – distance<br />

reading device) isn’t waterproof and<br />

one clumsy attempt to slide it into the<br />

protection of my tankbag wiped out<br />

the distance reading. Turned out my<br />

riding companions, July and Andy<br />

Slater (nicknamed Harry as he rode<br />

an Royal Enfield Himalayan), weren’t<br />

navigating for themselves. July had no<br />

clue as to where we were, while Harry<br />

could only offer a compass he wore<br />

on his sleeve for assistance. Well, we at<br />

118<br />


Suzuki V-Strom 650XT<br />

least knew which way north was.<br />

Of course there’s an easy answer to<br />

such situations – follow the tracks left<br />

by the pack. This mostly works but gets<br />

tricky when too many people have<br />

taken the wrong turn at ambiguous<br />

intersections. Here you have to<br />

become a modern day Indian scout,<br />

looking for the most used option and<br />

checking for evidence of U-turns. The<br />

rain eventually stopped and we found a<br />

distinct enough crossroads to reset the<br />

ICO-iPhone.<br />

Only then we ran into a fresh crash<br />

scene where an enterprising Alex<br />

Golden had not only launched his 1200<br />

GS into a bog but as good as sliced his<br />

nose off in the process. While two men<br />

of stern constitution literally taped<br />

his nose back into place the rest of us<br />

played He-Man in trying to push-pullheave<br />

his GS back up onto the track.<br />

So, very typical it seems of JB & July<br />

adventures, we ran low on time and<br />

were diverted off the final section and<br />

told to short cut it back to the finish.<br />

Day Two ran better. July and Harry<br />

decided on a day of eating and mild<br />

sightseeing over one of competition.<br />

So the Suzuki and I were able to roll free<br />

and fast. In drier conditions the Karoo<br />

Streets were getting good bite and when<br />

Dutchman Michel Langmuur flew by<br />

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Long Termer<br />

w<br />

on his KTM 990 Adventure, with buddy<br />

Paul van de Pol in hasty pursuit on his<br />

Yamaha Ténéré 660, there was nothing<br />

for it but to go with them. On the<br />

gravel the V-Strom on its Karoo Streets<br />

felt secure and there was no issue in<br />

matching the KTM for speed. Only in<br />

the technical sections, especially where<br />

deep holes challenged the Suzuki’s soft<br />

suspension, was it difficult/impossible<br />

to keep up. But any time lost in the<br />

slow stuff was made up on the gravel,<br />

the Suzuki can really fly on this stuff.<br />

Hats off to Michel, though, he was<br />

combining speed and navigation to am<br />

expert level.<br />

Now if there was one standout<br />

challenge to the event it was easily<br />

the camping. Overnight temperatures<br />

dropped to -2ºC (28ºF) and with<br />

my sleeping bag rated to only 0ºC<br />

(optimistically I’d say) I was laying my<br />

Giant Loop bags and Scott Dualraid suit<br />

over the sleeping bag to try and retain<br />

some warmth. The upside was the<br />

camaraderie that went with this as each<br />

morning, together with Michel and<br />

Paul (the flying Dutchmen), Scottish<br />

Steve, Harry Enfield, Mark A-C and even<br />

Jordan Gibbons from MCN, we would<br />

be stamping our feet, sharing coffee<br />

and counting the minutes until the<br />

kitchen opened for breakfast.<br />


The return trip was almost brutal.<br />

The 400 miles nearly all on highway/<br />

motorway with conducted with just<br />

120<br />


Suzuki V-Strom 650XT<br />

coffee/piss/fuel stops to break it up.<br />

Again, the Suzuki soaked it up, no issues.<br />

And that kind of sums up what<br />

adventures bikes are about. No vans<br />

needed. Big distances made in comfort<br />

and then a chance to ride in the<br />

wilderness with a minimum of fuss<br />

maximum of fun. And if the going gets<br />

tricky, just slow down. For sure an enduro<br />

bike would whip around such terrain<br />

stood on one wheel at ten times the<br />

speed, but adventure – and events like<br />

the Adventure Spec Challenge – are not<br />

about racing. This is seeing the world,<br />

along the track less travelled. And in this<br />

environment I have to say the Suzuki<br />

V-Strom 650XT shone.<br />



1 I gotta say the Barkbuster hand guards<br />

are just the business. At the Kielder 500<br />

it seemed every second bike wore them.<br />

There’s a reason: the fit and finish is top<br />

class, these are quality items. The Suzuki’s<br />

have never come loose, and you can tell<br />

they’re super-strong. I’ve not crash tested<br />

ours, but they’re equally useful at keeping<br />

the rain and cold at bay! We got ours at<br />

www.rg-gracing.com<br />

2 The Cool Covers seat cover proved<br />

excellent. The fit is impressive, the quality<br />

equally so. And judging by the noticeably<br />

cool waft of air under the JB butt on the<br />

chilly mornings there’s definitely the<br />

benefit of air circulation as well as improved<br />

comfort with this product. For £75 (in the<br />

UK) it’s a budget route to obtaining luxury<br />

comfort. Check them out at<br />

www.coolcovers.co.uk<br />

3 The combination of a tall seat option<br />

from Suzuki and SW Motech Evo footrests<br />

(set in their lowest position) has really<br />

opened out the V-Strom’s cockpit making it<br />

super comfortable for a six-footer without<br />

needing to add handlebar risers. The lower<br />

footrests also allow, I think, a better feel for<br />

what the tyres are doing (as they can do in<br />

trials). Go to www.motohaus.com to find a<br />

UK stockist.<br />

4 Riders get hung up on fitting the gnarliest<br />

adventure tyres. But, except in the wettest<br />

of conditions, mid-knob sized tyres like<br />

Metzeler Karoo Streets and Pirelli Scorpion<br />

Rally STRs can work just as well while<br />

giving better grip and longer life on road.<br />

They can also be less noisy on tarmac too.<br />

A great compromise tyre where you need<br />

your bike for day-to-day road riding as well<br />

as for weekend adventures. Find out more<br />

at www.metzeler.com<br />

5 I miss a centrestand. The V-Strom XT<br />

doesn’t come with one as standard, and<br />

while I know you can fashion a prop stand<br />

that will work with a sidestand for chain<br />

lubing etc, for me, especially when it comes<br />

to loading luggage, nothing beats the<br />

security of the centrestand. Weight penalty<br />

or no, for adventure bikes it’s a damn useful<br />

thing to have.<br />

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THE KIELDER 500<br />

The Kielder 500 was a triumph. It allowed 150 riders – about 90% of<br />

them for the first time – to ride their adventure bikes in a true adventure<br />

environment. On gravel across the wild open tracts, on single track through<br />

forest, the Kielder 500 combined adventure bike friendly off-roading with<br />

a road book navigational skills test – a concept that created maximum fun<br />

and satisfaction. And along the way everyone found new friends and new<br />

inspiration. This is, after all, what adventure bikes are for… w<br />

Images: JB & Martin Lynn/Adventure Spec<br />

122<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

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w<br />

124<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

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www.rustsports.com 125


w<br />

MY KIELDER 500<br />

July Behl (rider 150, <strong>RUST</strong> contributor)<br />

Rock on Kielder 500! Let’s call a<br />

spade a spade; I’m no GS Trophy<br />

wannabe, I’m a traveller on a<br />

motorbike who loves to venture<br />

off the beaten path, however difficult<br />

it may be. Soak in the experience. Stop<br />

for photographs. Have a wee chat.<br />

Fairly laidback. After riding the length<br />

of the Americas (PanAmScram), I now<br />

want to explore more of our beautiful<br />

country, ride the TET, go off grid, and<br />

whilst Kielder Forest is not necessarily<br />

off grid, it is off-bounds to motorcyclists<br />

except for events like the Kielder 500,<br />

and that is what attracted it to me in<br />

the first place. JB’s covered the details<br />

of the event etc in the rest of the article,<br />

so I’ll just share a few of my personal<br />

highlights with you.<br />

1. BEFORE THE EVENT – I hadn’t ridden my<br />

KTM 1190 Adventure R in ages and so<br />

it was a pleasure making sure the bike<br />

was prepped for the event. Half the fun<br />

is the prep, the build up, the chats with<br />

mates on the phone, route planning,<br />

pit stops, keeping an eye out on social<br />

media for the latest gossip and updates<br />

on the event etc… It was just brill.<br />


KIELDER – not so much!<br />

3. ON THE WAY TO THE EVENT – No matter<br />

how big or small a ride is, let’s admit<br />

it’s great fun riding with mates and it<br />

was great fun sharing the road with<br />

JB again. We took the longer route<br />

to Kielder via the National Parks<br />

126<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

and stopped for rather indulgent<br />

meals along the way. I think we had<br />

the equivalent of three full English<br />

breakfasts on the ride up. A bit of<br />

photography, hanging out with the<br />

locals oop North – all of it was just<br />

grand.<br />

4. THE EVENT – Congrats to Burt, Dave<br />

Lomax (of Adventure Spec) and the<br />

team – what a cracking event! The<br />

camaraderie and banter between<br />

strangers was extraordinary. The<br />

buzzing atmosphere at the start of<br />

the event and the stunning route,<br />

with everything from fire roads, to<br />

overgrown grassy bits, ruts, a wee water<br />

crossing, loose gravel, hard packed<br />

gravel, switchbacks – all of this through<br />

the beautiful Kielder forest – what’s not<br />

to like?! The atmosphere at basecamp<br />

was buzzing with energy throughout<br />

the event and there were tired bodies<br />

but happy souls all around. And we<br />

were fed like Vikings – portions the size<br />

of Jersey were on the go. So good food,<br />

cracking company, stunning routes,<br />

beautiful forest, new mates would sum<br />

up Kielder 500 for most participants, if<br />

not all.<br />

5. AFTER – What goes up must come<br />

down? No nob chat here but the<br />

dwindling levels of excitement after<br />

the event. Riding in pissing rain on the<br />

motorway back from Kielder to London,<br />

could’ve been more fun had we not<br />

decided to stick to the motorway due to<br />

time constraints. Nevertheless, I’d rather<br />

be out on my bike with mates than sat<br />

in front of the computer screen.<br />

All in all it was grand and I can’t<br />

wait for the next event at the IoM in<br />

September. There’s one happening in<br />

Wales, but I can’t attend, as that’s been<br />

pre booked as family time.<br />

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MY KIELDER 500<br />

Robert Hughes (organizer)<br />

w<br />

The Kielder 500 came about<br />

because we love this kind of<br />

riding, we love big bikes and<br />

because it’s so difficult to find<br />

places to ride them, especially on<br />

something like a 240km course.<br />

Kielder Forest is a fantastic venue<br />

because of the terrain and the tracks,<br />

which are mostly hard pack. It’s not so<br />

suitable for small bikes – enduros – it<br />

would be too fast. We want to keep the<br />

speeds down; it’s about the experience,<br />

the environment and the long distance.<br />

We’ve worked hard on safety. Every<br />

rider gets a tracker so we can see them<br />

on our main organizational screen back<br />

here at the base. That means we have<br />

full visibility of the event. You imagine<br />

setting 150 bikes and riders out into<br />

the wilderness and you don’t know<br />

where they might end up. So we can<br />

track all the bikes on the screen and<br />

just as importantly we have our medics<br />

and mobile marshals on screen. So if<br />

anything goes wrong for a rider we can<br />

talk the medic and marshals through,<br />

we have all their coordinates, so we<br />

have a fast response and in all this is a<br />

much safer way of doing things.<br />

As well the trackers mean we can<br />

measure the navigation exercise, we<br />

can track how far the riders have gone,<br />

can see how fast they’re going – which<br />

meant a few words of caution to a few<br />

who were going too fast – and we<br />

can see when the riders are going off<br />

course. One rider got lost, we could see<br />

he was going round in circles in the<br />

middle of the forest, so we got a marshal<br />

to him and guided him out.<br />

I’m delighted with the event. This is<br />

128<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

what we wanted, we wanted big bikes,<br />

everyone in one place making it very<br />

social, we wanted food in the evenings<br />

–everyone having a good fun time.<br />

We’ve built a lot of road book holders<br />

for these events, so everyone can have<br />

a go – you don’t to go out and buy<br />

the equipment. For so many of the<br />

riders, maybe 95%, this was the first<br />

time they’ve done anything like this,<br />

it’s been the first opportunity to ride<br />

their adventure bikes off-road, and<br />

between the riding and the navigation<br />

they’ve loved it. And with our dedicated<br />

Facebook group for the series it’s been<br />

great to read the feedback and the sheer<br />

enthusiasm the events are generating.<br />

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w<br />

MY KIELDER 500<br />

Jeremy Morse (rider 77)<br />

This was all new territory for me,<br />

I’ve done the smallest amount<br />

of green lane riding, but that<br />

was years ago, nothing since. So<br />

I turned up literally with a brand new<br />

BMW R1250 GS (JB – yep, it raised a few<br />

eyebrows!) and it was one steep learning<br />

curve, especially at the beginning. But<br />

I loved every minute of it, you can feel<br />

yourself learning the new skills, it’s been<br />

absolutely fabulous, so I’ve signed up<br />

already for the Wales 500!<br />

130<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

MY KIELDER 500<br />

Paul van de Pol (Netherlands, rider 115)<br />

I<br />

came here with my good friend<br />

Michel (Langmuur) as actually it’s<br />

not that far for us – a short ride to<br />

the ferry, the ferry across the North<br />

Sea, then a short ride this side, too. We<br />

can’t access riding like this anywhere<br />

near us, the next best possibility is Spain.<br />

And it’s been awesome riding: tough,<br />

challenging, but it’s not a race – and<br />

there’s the roadbook to master – so it’s all<br />

fun. There has been just endless off-road<br />

sections, so it’s been brilliant. We’ll come<br />

back next year for the Wales 500.<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 131




The Facts<br />

It’s a three-round series: Kielder 500,<br />

Wales 500, IoM 500.<br />

Each event is a weekend (two<br />

days), with a total course distance<br />

of around 500km, predominantly offroad<br />

(mostly gravel tracks) but with road<br />

linking sections.<br />

It is a navigational competition. Riders<br />

follow a paper road book and through<br />

an electronic tracker they are marked<br />

on the accuracy with which they follow<br />

the road book. It is not against the clock<br />

and riders are encouraged to ride at<br />

sensible speeds given most of the tracks<br />

are open to the public – excess speed is<br />

recorded and attracts penalty points.<br />

The series is for adventure bikes<br />

(‘road legal bikes’) with a minimum<br />

weight of 140kg. Common sense tells<br />

you that a CRF250L is eligible, being<br />

at the lower end of what an adventure<br />

bike can be, but say a KTM 500EXC is<br />

not – that’s a competition bike (and<br />

yes, Adam Reiman and his Motology<br />

mates might hack around the world at<br />

great speed on their 500EXCs, but that’s<br />

la-la film-making for you, who really<br />

wants to go RTW with oil changes every<br />

15 hours?). Otherwise anything goes,<br />

including modern street scramblers and<br />

supermotos, pretty sure there was an<br />

NC750 somewhere in the mix too.<br />

The trails can be ridden on road tyres<br />

(and many do), but if wet some caution<br />

is required. Proper 50/50 adventure<br />

tyres are probably the call, for a more<br />

carefree ride!<br />

The events are very social with onsite<br />

camping, meals and bar. Here at <strong>RUST</strong><br />

we’d like to encourage riders to ride – as<br />

against van/trailer – their bikes to the<br />

event. The trails are not there to destroy<br />

you, there’s no race and, heck, aren’t<br />

adventure bikes specifically designed<br />

for this kind of thing: highway and<br />

byway…<br />

Want to know more?<br />

Go to www.rallymoto.co.uk<br />

132<br />


THE KIELDER 500<br />

www.rustsports.com 133


Ahh, another long termer! New to the <strong>RUST</strong> garage is this KTM 1290<br />

Super Adventure R. Pumped to the max, it’s kind of the last word in<br />

super adventuring. It’s so much bike it’s left JB a little bewildered.<br />


Words & Images: JB<br />

I<br />

honestly don’t know what to say. Or where to start. This<br />

KTM confounds me in every dimension. There’s so much to<br />

it. For a start: 160hp. I never had a road racer that powerful.<br />

Am I ready for this much in a tourer come dirt bike? Not<br />

sure. It’s got electronic aids coming out of its ass, so many I<br />

haven’t even begun to comprehend what they’re all doing. And<br />

boy is it tall? 890mm – seems more, I’m on tiptoes everywhere,<br />

and for the first time I’m understanding how shorter people feel,<br />

and think – yeah, you have to judge cambers and make sure the<br />

foot going down is on the upside, eh?<br />

w<br />

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www.rustsports.com 135


w<br />

I’m way too simple, binary, for<br />

this, so I’ve elected to stop thinking<br />

and just ride. In fact I’ve already put<br />

over 1200 miles on it, chasing out to<br />

Wales and back (twice), all on road.<br />

It’s a consummate mile muncher,<br />

or shrinker – you arrive everywhere<br />

earlier than you anticipate. It’ll<br />

cruise at any speed between zero<br />

and a zillion and even in top gear<br />

going say 90mph you crack that<br />

throttle and it goes hyperspace. On<br />

the road it doesn’t need gears, just<br />

the one – sixth – is enough. And<br />

despite making speedy transits it<br />

seems to be quite frugal, the onboard<br />

computer says it’s turning around<br />

56mpg. Fuel range says 250 miles<br />

after a fill up, but I’m stopping at<br />

around the 200-mile mark mostly<br />

and putting in around 17-18 litres<br />

into that 23-litre tank, which is about<br />

50mpg so the computer’s probably<br />

about right on all counts.<br />

Comfort is good. The footrests<br />

initially feel high (especially after<br />

the V-Strom XT with its lowered<br />

pegs), but the riding position is long<br />

distance comfortable. KTM suggest<br />

the seat has 3D foam padding which<br />

sounds pretty high-tech but I’ve<br />

found I’ve increased the comfort<br />

even more by throwing a dead sheep<br />

over it (okay, just the skin). Vibrations<br />

are minimal, and certainly don’t<br />

interfere with comfort. Handling<br />

is pretty damn good, too, and I’m<br />

surprised just how much confidence<br />

I’m finding in it despite its height<br />

and the skinny 21”/18” wheel<br />

combination, even on wet roads.<br />

I’ve ridden a 1290 Super Adventure<br />

R off-road before and been<br />

impressed just how good and<br />

manageable it is, those wheel sizes<br />

help I’m sure, while the off-road<br />

rider mode tames the 160 gee gees.<br />

But we’ll be fitting at least some<br />

50/50 adventure tyres, if not more<br />

aggressive ones, before we take this<br />

one off road.<br />

But where we’ll take this bike, fettlewise,<br />

I’m not sure. KTM help/don’t<br />

help by having the most expansive<br />

catalogue of aftermarket parts you<br />

could wish for and we could go<br />

anywhere between hard-core racer<br />

and comfy two-up tourer with this<br />

bike. For now, it’s just so immense<br />

I’m still trying to get my head around<br />

it all. An embarrassment of riches, no<br />

question!<br />

136<br />



www.rustsports.com 137

Discover the world with<br />

Bell's adventure helmets<br />

A select range of Bell Helmets is now available through<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> at www.bell-motorcycle-helmets.co.uk

*<strong>RUST</strong> subscribers get member discounts

adventure<br />



July continues his southward journey across the Americas. His<br />

odometer reads not in kilometres, nor miles, instead calories…<br />

Words & Images: July Behl<br />



In 2017 July Behl (Dehli born, Derry<br />

raised) realised a long-held dream, riding<br />

the length of the Americas – Alaska to<br />

Argentina. Although he had a KTM 1190<br />

Adventure in the garage, for this trip he<br />

chose a BMW RnineT Scrambler. With<br />

five months to make the journey, July<br />

was there for the good time; culinaryinquisitive,<br />

socially engaged, this was<br />

not a journey where you measured<br />

miles – more the waistline (growing, not<br />

shrinking). You can read up on his story<br />

so far in <strong>RUST</strong> issues 27, 29, 35 and 41. We<br />

join him here at the global midpoint that is<br />

the Equator, riding with companion Aussie<br />

Simon on his Triumph Tiger 800…<br />

Who did we think we were?<br />

Royalty? Celebrities? Rocking<br />

up at a South American border<br />

on a Sunday and that, too, at<br />

lunchtime! This was cultural blasphemy at<br />

its hilt. Border crossings are more of an art<br />

than science – a bit like sex, I suppose – one<br />

gets a tiny bit better and more confident after<br />

each crossing or experience (my wife will<br />

vehemently disagree with this statement, on<br />

both counts). The takeaway here is, try and<br />

avoid doing what I did, preferably have more<br />

than ten words of Spanish in your language<br />

ammo reserves, and most importantly no<br />

(I mean know) the difference between two<br />

similar sounding words, e.g. Caliente means<br />

hot and also means… horny! Exactly! So, when<br />

you’re engaging in polite conversation with<br />

a female border official and want to express<br />

‘How hot the day is?’ and instead end up<br />

saying, ‘How horny the day is?’ depending<br />

on your good looks and willingness, either<br />

things will get exponentially expedited<br />

or significantly stressful. Either way,<br />

adventurous! I’ll write a dedicated article on<br />

border crossings for those who want to go<br />

into the intricacies of each one and spare the<br />

rest of you beautiful readers who don’t. w<br />

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It was about 3:30 pm by the time the<br />

border formalities were complete at<br />

Rumichaca – the Colombian/Ecuador<br />

border – and there was no way we<br />

were getting to Quito without riding<br />

at night, which neither of us was a<br />

fan of. Anyhow, close to sundown<br />

we decided to ride to Lago San Pablo,<br />

which seemed like a scenic place on the<br />

map for a stopover. Just like everything<br />

else on the PanAmScram, this decision<br />

too was ‘on a wing and a prayer’ – if it<br />

looked good on a map, it must be good.<br />

Whilst I’d put together the whole trip<br />

in less than a couple of weeks, it had<br />

been in the pipeline for a decade and I<br />

wanted to make each day count! So if<br />

it meant riding a little longer or farther,<br />

for a better view, a better meal, better<br />

interaction with the locals etc I wanted<br />

to do it, no matter how knackered I was,<br />

and tired we were.<br />

You see, Tom Tom doesn’t have maps<br />

for Ecuador and we were relying on<br />

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Maps.me (free offline sat nav service<br />

on your phone), which like every<br />

other sat nav service is good but<br />

not perfect. I know there are maps<br />

and compasses, but we all have our<br />

strengths and navigating isn’t one of<br />

mine. Not only did we want to stay<br />

at the scenic lake but also wanted to<br />

find accommodation overlooking it,<br />

which was a bit of a struggle as it was<br />

off peak season and most of the hostels,<br />

campsites and hotels were closed. Our<br />

first attempt at my brilliant suggestion<br />

of just heading towards the lake landed<br />

us in somebody’s backyard. These<br />

poor people were so confused and,<br />

I gathered, a bit frightened that they<br />

peered at us through their windows for<br />

a minute before drawing the curtains<br />

– and what sounded like bolting the<br />

doors. Thinking about it, I was sporting<br />

a James Hetfield/Metallica goatee,<br />

which in hindsight could have been,<br />

given my natural tan(!), mistaken for<br />

an ISIS goatee – I bet the family were<br />

burning up the rosaries that night.<br />

Our second attempt at finding<br />

accommodation took us up a steep<br />

dirt track for miles before ending in a<br />

dead end. The situation had gotten so<br />

pathetic that it was hilarious and I had<br />

tears streaming down my cheeks. A<br />

180-degree turn on a fully loaded bike,<br />

on a steep hill, in the dark, is not a lot<br />

of a fun but hey ho, we were living the<br />

dream. After a few more unsuccessful<br />

rounds, we finally found a hotel but it<br />

was way out of our budget – about $135<br />

USD for two people including breakfast.<br />

We bit the bullet and boy, was it grand<br />

– no condom-infested toilet, cumstain<br />

free linen, hot showers, twin beds,<br />

restaurant and bar onsite. We shone like<br />

new pennies. The next day at checkout<br />

when I questioned the guards why it<br />

was kept open in the off peak season<br />

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despite no business, I was told a lot of<br />

these properties were owned by high<br />

ranking cartel members and it was<br />

another way for them to park their cash<br />

– you learn something new every day.<br />


On our way to Quito, we stopped off<br />

at the Equator monument to take<br />

the customary photographs and<br />

soak in the fact that we’d now ridden<br />

half the length of the world – a wee<br />

achievement. In busy Quito, our<br />

first stop was at Freedom Motorcycle<br />

Rentals, a motorcycle rental and tours<br />

company owned by Frenchman<br />

Sylvan and American Court. Upon our<br />

arrival, Sylvan shouted, “Welcome, help<br />

yourselves to stickers, a T-shirt, cold<br />

beers and stay with us!” We couldn’t<br />

have asked for a warmer welcome.<br />

There was also Salina, the Chief Security<br />

Officer, who was a hot bitch. She had<br />

quintessential Latin American looks,<br />

beautiful brown skin, was in her prime<br />

but took her own time warming to<br />

us. After a while she took a shine to<br />

Simon, and why not? He was single and<br />

charming. What goes on tour, stays on<br />

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tour and that’s all I’ll say. Good for you,<br />

Simon.<br />

We needed new tyres, Simon’s starter<br />

motor was being troublesome and I<br />

needed my suspension adjusted – “No<br />

problem, you’re here now and we’ll fix<br />

you and your bikes,” said Sylvan. We<br />

didn’t know Sylvan and Court from<br />

Adam, but in an instant they made us<br />

feel at home. Their spirit of generosity<br />

and hospitality makes one feel proud of<br />

the global motorcycle community. We<br />

didn’t accept their offer to host us, as<br />

it just didn’t feel right, but we did take<br />

them up on fixing the bikes and sorting<br />

the tyres. A word of advice on tyres: buy<br />

them in Colombia, even if you have to<br />

carry them, as they’re way cheaper and<br />

there’s more choice. I didn’t know at the<br />

time but subsequently found out it and<br />

now, having read this you won’t make<br />

the same mistake.<br />

Those of you with vivid imaginations<br />

and envious of Simon and Salina’s<br />

adventures, don’t be, as she was quite<br />

literally a bitch. They just played<br />

together, as you do with a pet. Anticlimax,<br />

indeed! ‘Freedom’ do call her the<br />

Chief Security Officer though.<br />

Over the course of the next few days,<br />

we went on a street food and drinking<br />

spree. We were recharging ourselves for<br />

the second half of the world. We hung<br />

out at local market squares, parks, bars,<br />

with street food vendors, the boys at<br />

‘Freedom’, and it was just brill. Avoid the<br />

restaurants at the main market square<br />

and instead venture out to shacks and<br />

small local restaurants as both the food<br />

and vibe is way better. On the food<br />

scene, one of the things I absolutely<br />

loved and recommend was their giant<br />

corn kernels and pork scratchings<br />

salad/ trail mix/ appetiser – just like Fish<br />

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& Chips, Lamb & Mint, Pie & Mash, July<br />

& Fiona, JB & Wolfgang etc this was a<br />

match made in heaven.<br />

On the last day in Quito, there was a<br />

delay in sorting the bikes out, as a result<br />

we ended up staying at Freedom and<br />

were treated to plenty of lager and ribs<br />

by the boys. Thanks again to everyone<br />

at Freedom for all their hospitality and<br />

for fixing the bikes. You must drop in<br />

say hello to them if in Ecuador and<br />

more importantly, rent bikes from them<br />

and go on their tours. From what I’ve<br />

heard they’re fab.<br />


The Freedom boys suggested a few<br />

routes to Peru, and Sylvan said, “If you<br />

want the easy/main route stay on the<br />

national highways and you’ll arrive at<br />

the big border. However if you want the<br />

adventurous/more challenging route,<br />

go to Vilacamamba via the back roads<br />

and then through the Amazon to the<br />

sleepy border town of La Balza.”<br />

Of course, we chose the latter option<br />

– and it was gold. It took us two days to<br />

ride the 784km through the back roads<br />

to Vilacamamba also known as the<br />

‘Valley of Longevity’ due to the fact that<br />

most people live well over a hundred<br />

years in this village surrounded by the<br />

Amazon mountains on one side and<br />

the beach on the other. The reason<br />

for the high number of centenarians<br />

is credited to the rich biodiversity of<br />

the valley and the fact that the fruits<br />

and vegetables here contain the most<br />

powerful anti-oxidants protection in<br />

the world. Researchers and scientists<br />

travel from far and wide to the valley to<br />

unearth the secrets behind the lifestyle<br />

of the locals. It also draws the eccentric<br />

bohemian types who come to the valley<br />

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to ‘find themselves’. The locals have a<br />

motto of ‘living simply so that others<br />

can simply live’ and this is evident in<br />

the shops and spas in the valley selling<br />

wellness products and services, mostly<br />

to American tourists and expats who<br />

were seen and heard everywhere.<br />

And did Simon and I make the most<br />

of our time in the Valley of Longevity?<br />

Were we thriving? Did we feel like we<br />

were going to live to be 100? Us in<br />

harmony with our surroundings? No,<br />

we were explorers, charting our own<br />

paths. Ha! Despite all the antioxidants<br />

and the rich biodiversity, we were laid<br />

up. Arse water!! You read that right. It<br />

was bad – the only thing charting its<br />

own path was the trail of uncontrollable<br />

faeces out of my bottom, and Simon too<br />

was down with a bad case of man flu.<br />

So, to explain: on the last riding<br />

day to the valley we’d started without<br />

breakfast to make up time. As we<br />

were riding in such remote parts it<br />

got to about noon without any food<br />

or water, I was so hungry it felt like I<br />

was digesting my intestines with each<br />

passing mile. Finally we came across<br />

a little settlement with what looked<br />

like a restaurant. Too early for lunch.<br />

They were all closed. Damn you South<br />

American meal times. On the side of<br />

the road, were about three wee BBQ<br />

type shacks prepping to open – but not<br />

open. With my best refugee on a BMW<br />

look, I somehow convinced one owner<br />

to serve and it worked. I think it was<br />

more a case of a plonking ourselves<br />

on her bench staring and salivating<br />

looking at the food like two hungry<br />

Labradors that did the trick. Ribs, beef<br />

kebabs and pork chops were flowing,<br />

but unfortunately she was handling raw<br />

and cooked meat with the same tongs<br />

and that’s what I suspect was the culprit.<br />

The food was gorgeous and plentiful,<br />

and the lady was kind and considerate,<br />

just not clean. I spent the night curled<br />

up in the foetal position, when I wasn’t<br />

in the toilet – which to be fair was the<br />

chunk of the night. I felt fragile, violated<br />

and more like in the valley of death. To<br />

be fair, in the five and a half months that<br />

I spent in the Americas, this was the<br />

only time I was ill, which isn’t bad at all.<br />

Fortunately, in this instance we had<br />

en-suite toilets in our rustic hostel. Just<br />

like every other place, we’d arrived in<br />

Vilacamamba without any bookings.<br />

Sat on the square, just watching the<br />

world go by, I noticed a bohemian bead<br />

bracelet seller and ending up talking to<br />

him and his mate (Emmanuel) about<br />

their life, travels, the beads etc, and as<br />

part of the conversation Emmanuel<br />

said, “Come to the hostel I stay at.<br />

Very nice. Parking for moto. Big party<br />

tomorrow night. Good weed.” He had us<br />

at parking for moto.<br />

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Cannabis is another popular product<br />

of Vilacamamba and all the locals<br />

we met along the way to the valley<br />

consistently said two things, “Beautiful<br />

place. Good weed.” Anyhow, at the<br />

hostel the evidence of the cannabis<br />

being “very good” was crystal when<br />

we met ‘Mental Mary’ – as the locals<br />

liked to describe her. Mary was Dutch<br />

by heritage and moved to the valley<br />

about 20 years back to find herself. She<br />

was lovely, rode a 125cc motorcycle,<br />

clearly was not mental but high as a<br />

blimmin’ kite. It was like Groundhog<br />

Day – we had the same conversation<br />

with her three times within an hour.<br />

Short term memory loss was a bit of<br />

theme at our hostel. It was like a ‘wake<br />

and bake’ factory and the residents were<br />

so ‘baked’ that despite being there for<br />

weeks, didn’t remember each other’s<br />

names and instead called them by the<br />

country they originated from – easier to<br />

remember. It was a bit like “Argentina,<br />

come let’s go smoke some weed with<br />

Colombia. Where’s Mexico today?<br />

Britain is still shitting and Australia is<br />

down with flu.”<br />

We didn’t end up going to the big<br />

party which was a restaurant opening<br />

next to our hostel, however we did<br />

manage to spend a few hours at a<br />

local café listening to live instrumental<br />

music with our new hostel friend<br />

Dieter, a Chilean pilot and harmonica<br />

enthusiast in his late 20s. Dieter too was<br />

travelling the world in bite-sized chunks<br />

attending and partaking in various<br />

Blues festivals along the way. The café<br />

was in an idyllic setting, a few miles<br />

from our hostel, nestled between the<br />

mountains, made of straw and mud and<br />

had a wee stage with a fire in front of it.<br />

It was an open mic night and hippies<br />

from all over the world were taking<br />

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turns singing their native music and playing<br />

various instruments. I’ve been to a plethora of<br />

concerts and music nights, but this by far was<br />

the best – so pure.<br />


After two eventful days in Vilacamamba, we<br />

bid farewell to our new friends and made our<br />

way to the border via the Amazon. We took a<br />

combination of the Route 682 and backroads<br />

and rode at elevation of close to 3200 metres<br />

in places. This ride had everything from<br />

long stretches of dirt roads, water crossings,<br />

jungles, broken tarmac, some good tarmac,<br />

clay, mud, mountain passes, certainly was<br />

one of the riding highlights in Ecuador,<br />

and we would’ve missed all of this had the<br />

Freedom boys not told us about it. One did<br />

have to be careful on long stretches of the dirt<br />

track, as a slight distraction or loss of control<br />

of the bike would’ve ended up going down<br />

the sheer drop that caressed the narrow dirt<br />

track. It was remote and it was lush. Also,<br />

except for one motorcycle, jeep and a minibus<br />

we didn’t see anyone else the whole day. I<br />

would go back in a heartbeat to ride this route.<br />

We got to the La Balza border at about<br />

4pm and unlike other borders on the<br />

PanAmScram, this was a shack. When we<br />

arrived the only border guard present was<br />

sleeping and had to be woken up. You could<br />

tell he wasn’t used to people turning up and<br />

confessed that hardly anyone ever used this<br />

border. As we were the only ones to deal with<br />

we were done within half an hour and then<br />

he unlocked and lifted the barrier to let us<br />

through to a bridge/no man’s land between<br />

Ecuador and Peru. This last day in Ecuador<br />

was the prefect farewell to this amazing<br />

country. Despite all the sickness and silliness,<br />

the people and country looked after us very<br />

well. More to be ridden in Ecuador in the near<br />

future.<br />








Peru. This is a story being told in real time. In<br />

fact the story is taking longer than the journey<br />

itself. July – will you put down those sticky ribs<br />

and get on with it?!<br />

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California<br />

Words & Images: JB<br />

cruisin’<br />

<strong>RUST</strong>’s US trip wasn’t all off-road roosting. When we got to the West Coast we couldn’t help ourselves<br />

but to indulge in a local passion – cruisin’. A trip from LA down to San Diego on Brit and American<br />

iron proved a great interlude while the dirt gear got cleaned up at the Laundromat…<br />

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2<br />

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Warren took one look at the<br />

Indian and claimed it. If he<br />

was going to live a dream<br />

of Cali’ cruisin’ it had to be<br />

on American iron and he<br />

just soaked in the style and<br />

design cues of this new<br />

classic. And of course he<br />

took full advantage of relaxed<br />

local laws (or was it absence<br />

of cops?) to go, er, ‘native’.<br />

2. ME TOO!<br />

JB wasn’t impervious to<br />

the attractions of a little<br />

freeriding, either. There is<br />

something magical about<br />

riding with the wind in your<br />

hair (while you’ve still got it).<br />

The trick of course is to not<br />

look like you’re enjoying it<br />

too much…<br />


Actually this was Laguna<br />

Beach, but when you see a<br />

Cali sunset you stop quick<br />

and take it all in – it really is<br />

quite special. Of course you<br />

have to shoot as well as look<br />

– so JB got Warren to push<br />

the Scout Bobber onto the<br />

boardwalk.<br />

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4. SUN SOAK<br />

This shot is as it came out<br />

of the camera, no fancy<br />

Photoshop tricks. We had to<br />

pinch ourselves, it was so<br />

pitch perfect.<br />

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It was just there, a windripped<br />

red white and blue, we<br />

couldn’t resist composing at<br />

least one image like this…<br />

6. BLACK LIGHT<br />

The Indian looked incredible<br />

in the light of dusk, just<br />

amazing. If you’d just bought<br />

the bike and parked it there<br />

you’d be 100% convinced<br />

you’d made the perfect<br />

choice. Visually stunning<br />

machine.<br />

7. NIGHT LIFE<br />

Warren was the cat that<br />

got the cream (no birds<br />

– married man and all). Forget<br />

health and safety for just<br />

ten minutes, in that climate,<br />

that environment this was<br />

motorcycle nirvana – even for<br />

a confirmed dirtbike guy.<br />

5<br />

8. FORECOURT<br />

The Speedmaster<br />

arrived the next<br />

morning, along with<br />

wall-to-wall sunshine.<br />

Such a different take on<br />

cruising to the Scout<br />

Bobber it took a while<br />

to adjust our mindsets.<br />

But very quickly we<br />

started taking second<br />

looks, started picking<br />

up on the details – and<br />

the sheer shine of the<br />

Triumph.<br />

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9. PALM<br />

Heading into downtown San Diego we<br />

passed this beach. Too nice to just ride<br />

past, so we stopped and hung around.<br />

Then we actually managed to lose each<br />

other when riding out – we still don’t know<br />

how. But it didn’t matter, just another<br />

excuse to ride up and down the strip…<br />

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10. OLD TOWN<br />

Old town San Diego is<br />

enchanting. Low rise,<br />

and these avenues of<br />

weatherboard bungalows<br />

with just walkways<br />

between their front<br />

gardens make for a special<br />

atmosphere. And all just a<br />

few paces from the beach.<br />

And the culture was 100%<br />

Bohemian, artsy, foodie –<br />

kind of hipster in a sunkissed<br />

beach-bum style.<br />

Being utterly uncool Brit<br />

and Saffie old boys we<br />

can’t say we fitted right in,<br />

but we certainly loved the<br />

style and the fish tacos at<br />

Single Fin just added to the<br />

experience. Sublime.<br />

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11. STREET SCENE<br />

We could have walked the<br />

neighbourhood, but riding it<br />

was more fun – honestly what<br />

is more fun than riding bikes,<br />

any bikes? Warren’s been into<br />

riding with rolled-up sleeves<br />

ever since JB showed him<br />

how French enduro aces<br />

always ride like this, even<br />

in the depths of winter. See,<br />

even us old guys want to be<br />

cool.<br />

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12. HIT THE BUTTON<br />

Warren eventually<br />

condescended to riding the<br />

Triumph. He made a play<br />

of finding the starter, the<br />

controls and all, but after a<br />

while – secretly – he kind<br />

of liked, or at least respected<br />

the Speedmaster. It’s just<br />

something he won’t admit in<br />

public.<br />

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14<br />

13. U-TURN<br />

Using the pedestrian crossing as a<br />

U-turn opportunity confused the<br />

hell out of the locals – both in their<br />

automobiles and on foot (in San Diego<br />

they actually walk places, not just to<br />

their cars) – but you tell us: did Warren<br />

(a) turn on his Saffie charm or (b) just<br />

ignore them?<br />

14. BELL<br />

The Bell Moto 3 is a sore subject in the<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> office. This was JB’s pick for the<br />

job, but when Warren fell out of love<br />

with his original pick of helmet after<br />

one day he collared JB’s pick instead. In<br />

the off-road variant (check for the plain<br />

colours and toweling – not leather –<br />

lining) the Moto 3 is one lovely lid.<br />

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15. PLUM<br />

You can tell quality paintwork by the way it works<br />

so completely in every different light. In the San<br />

Diego twilight the Speedmaster’s red tank turned a<br />

warm plum colour, while the chrome tank badge<br />

and cap set off a contrasting deep reflective gleam.<br />

Meanwhile the simplicity of the instruments and<br />

comfortable sweep of the ‘beach bars’ (Triumph’s<br />

name for the handlebars) just set the scene for a<br />

comfortable evening cruise.<br />

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This is a work of art. You<br />

need time to take it all in,<br />

then you need to ride it,<br />

and then to look again.<br />

You need to do both to<br />

appreciate all the details<br />

as the visual and the<br />

kinetic interlink.<br />

The motor – you can<br />

see this visually too – is<br />

very modern. It reminds<br />

me of when Harley-<br />

Davidson launched<br />

their V-Rod. That was a<br />

cruiser with what felt like<br />

a superbike motor. The<br />

Scout Bobber is a bit like<br />

that, only not so muscular<br />

(it doesn’t have the cubic<br />

capacity) but certainly<br />

it’s a modern engine and<br />

100hp is actually pretty<br />

fair for an 1100cc veetwin,<br />

but expect linear<br />

power and torque curves.<br />

So you don’t ride it off<br />

the bottom so much as<br />

let it rip. It still makes a<br />

deep basso rumble, but<br />

with a higher pitch mixed<br />

in. It is smooth, though,<br />

and slick. The standard<br />

pipes obviously answer<br />

to the authorities – with<br />

something less restrictive<br />

it would be interesting to<br />

see how it would perform<br />

and sound.<br />

Warren loved the Scout<br />

Bobber and chose to ride<br />

it over the Speedmaster.<br />

That’s based on looks as<br />

much as anything. The<br />

Indian guys have put so<br />

much effort into bringing<br />

together a design that<br />

works on a 360º basis;<br />

everything links, every<br />

part has interconnectivity<br />

with the next, it is one<br />

cohesive design. The<br />

detailing is exquisite<br />

for a mass production<br />

machine.<br />

The Scout Bobber<br />

lives for an urban life.<br />

It’s a bit of a pose, for<br />

sure, but there’s enough<br />

genuine design and<br />

engineering to pull it off,<br />

it’s not embarrassing and<br />

the looks it attracts are<br />

admiring and inquisitive.<br />

And you need to keep<br />

it in town, because for<br />

real road trips that riding<br />

position and that short<br />

travel suspension make<br />

for a compromised<br />

ride. I wouldn’t call it<br />

outright uncomfortable<br />

but I certainly wouldn’t<br />

consider it for touring.<br />

Maybe for smaller, lighter<br />

people it works better.<br />

But in town it certainly<br />

works, you sit relaxed<br />

yet in command so you<br />

can give it a quick spurt<br />

to clear the traffic when<br />

you need, or you can just<br />

gently thrum along, and<br />

it has a modern set of<br />

controls and engine and<br />

chassis responses to keep<br />

you safe if others aren’t so<br />

alert.<br />

In downtown San Diego<br />

it was fully within its<br />

environment. It has that<br />

same intoxicating mix of<br />

modernity and historical<br />

background. It has its<br />

own identity for sure…<br />

www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us/scout-bobber/<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 167

heritage<br />

w<br />

168<br />


USA<br />

16. SUNSET 2<br />

Another killer sunset, this time<br />

we’ve set one of the beach<br />

lifeguards’ lookout posts against<br />

it. There’s something a bit<br />

robotic in the design, don’t you<br />

think – maybe George Lucas had<br />

a hand in their design.<br />

w<br />

www.rustsports.com 169

heritage<br />

w<br />


You expect the arrival of The Fonz<br />

at any moment: heeeeyyy! The<br />

Speedmaster is all Fifties Americana.<br />

Okay, it’s British, but Fonzie rode a<br />

Triumph too, after all Triumph were<br />

Stateside and kings of the street<br />

scene back in the Fifties (and even<br />

had their moment in the AMA Flat<br />

Track sun in the late Sixties).<br />

Like the Indian guys, you get the<br />

idea the design and engineering<br />

team put a lot into their cruiser. The<br />

Scout Bobber is thoroughly modern<br />

take, but the Speedmaster is a proper<br />

historical reenactment, only with<br />

modern design and technology<br />

mixed in. The 1200cc motor makes<br />

only 76hp – down on the Scout<br />

Bobber – but it punches so hard off<br />

the bottom you’d never know it was<br />

the less powerful. It really rocks this<br />

power unit, it’s a joyful lusty beast<br />

– that 270º crank angle helps – so<br />

that you just can’t stop playing with<br />

it, cracking that throttle repeatedly,<br />

traffic light to traffic light is a threebraaap<br />

(first-second-third) stanza.<br />

The candy red tank is a keynote in<br />

kitsch, yet this is a design that is so<br />

faithful to its Fifties origins that to<br />

call it a pastiche would be wrong, it’s<br />

too well executed for that. While not<br />

being an immediate European taste,<br />

after you’ve ridden it for a while<br />

– especially if that ride is a cruise<br />

down to San Diego – then you start<br />

understanding and liking its style.<br />

And like the Scout Bobber, it rewards<br />

you with every visual investigation.<br />

It’s a superb design job.<br />

It does then have the look, the<br />

rumble and the presence. Leave<br />

me with this bike for too long and<br />

I swear I’ll be wearing turn-up<br />

jeans, check shirt and unzipped<br />

leather jacket before too long (and<br />

of course the open-face helmet). I’m<br />

Bonneville British all the way, but<br />

given the right environment – west<br />

coast US or south coast France<br />

– I’d be giving the Speedmaster<br />

serious consideration. Yes, this Brit<br />

thoroughly exudes Cali laid back<br />

cool.<br />

www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/motorcycles/classic/bonneville-speedmaster<br />

170<br />


USA<br />


We’ll choose this as the closing<br />

shot of the San Diego cruise. At this<br />

moment life was perfect. We’ll not<br />

speak of the surprisingly cold, long<br />

and borderline uncomfortable ride<br />

back to Newport Beach, some of it<br />

on a super-busy freeway. No, we’ll<br />

not mention that nightmare, just<br />

remember that dream day…<br />

THANKS<br />

To Tom Robinson, Phil Read Jnr and<br />

Lance Jones at Triumph for sorting us<br />

the Speedmaster. And to Luke Plummer,<br />

Haley Holston and TJ Jackson at Indian<br />

for sorting the Scout Bobber. To Bell<br />

Helmets USA for the cool lids and to<br />

Richa (Nevis Marketing in the UK) for the<br />

gloves and jackets.<br />

www.rustsports.com 171

C ntacts<br />

<strong>RUST</strong> SPORTS LTD<br />

www.rustsports.com<br />

Warwick House<br />

The Grange<br />

St. Peter Port<br />

Guernsey<br />

GY1 2PY<br />

Editor: Jonathan Bentman<br />

editor@rustsports.com<br />

Designer: Rich Page<br />

Managing Director: Warren Malschinger<br />

Contributors: Alan Stillwell (USA), Chris Evans (UK/FR),<br />

Pedro Matos (PT), July Behl (UK), Craig Keyworth (UK)<br />

Thanks to - Thanks to: (long-long list this issue) the<br />

wonderful bods at KTM UK, Simon Roots and Sarah<br />

Dryhurst (& Brad Woodroofe) for the 790 Adventure<br />

R test ride, also to Moly, Pat and his crew for the<br />

quality riding at Sweet Lamb, also thanks to Sarah<br />

for the 1290 Super Adventure R and to Alan in the<br />

workshop for turning around the 600 mile service in<br />

double quick time; to Iain Baker at Honda UK for the<br />

screaming wonder that is the Honda CRF250RX, to<br />

Holeshot PR for speedily arranging Metzeler tyres<br />

for it (no thanks to courier for the botched delivery…)<br />

and to Wynn Connell at Acerbis UK for the plastics<br />

kit; to Tom Robinson at Triumph and Dean Harfield<br />

at Performance Communications for arranging and<br />

delivering the fruity Triumph Scrambler 1200XE for<br />

testing; to Serena Lillingston-Price at Yamaha UK and<br />

Dylan Jones at Yamaha Off-Road Experience for the<br />

smoothest WR450F test; to Dean Clements at Clements<br />

Moto for the fantastic Fantic Caballero 500; To Dylan<br />

Williams and his terrific team at the Dyfed Dirt Bike<br />

Club; Robert Hughes and his team at Rally Moto UK<br />

and to Dave Lomax and Greg Villalobos at Adventure<br />

Spec for the Kielder 500 entry and support; to John and<br />

Adam Mitchinson at Rally Raid Products for the BMW<br />

G310 GS RRP test; to James Sharpe and Luke Plummer<br />

at Motocom for the continued Suzuki V-Strom 650XT<br />

presence. And to anyone left off, apologies, all help is<br />

always gratefully received!<br />

Copyright: <strong>RUST</strong> Sports Ltd. All rights reserved.<br />

Reproduction of any part of <strong>RUST</strong> is prohibited without<br />

the express permission of <strong>RUST</strong> Sports Ltd.

www.rustsports.com<br />

@Rust_Sports<br />

/RustSports<br />


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